Just in time, as planned.
The Spout Springs Road widening in front of Flowery Branch High and Spout Springs Elementary schools has been mostly completed, one week before the 2010-11 school year starts.
A center turn lane now spans between Elizabeth Lane and Union Circle with a new traffic light at Elizabeth Lane set to become operational at 9 a.m. today, Jody Woodall, Hall County road projects manager, said last week.
“It’s about 90 percent complete,” he said of the project. “We still have a little bit of work at the Union Circle end. ... During peak (traffic times), we’ll be out of the roadway, (so) the crews can work during the day to get that completed.”
Also, some improvements have been made to Elizabeth at Spout Springs.
The work has included a realignment and “flattening out the approach to Spout Springs just slightly, so that cars starting out from a dead stop at the signal will have a little bit easier time getting going,” Woodall said.
The Spout Springs work near the schools — begun in the spring — had a Saturday deadline, with other work on the busy corridor scheduled to be completed by Oct. 31.
The construction plan now calls for adding another through-lane at Hog Mountain Road for Spout Springs motorists traveling toward Interstate 985.
As part of that work, crews will install new right-turn lanes at a drug store, bank and child-care center at that intersection, Woodall said.
After that work is completed, crews will add left-turn lanes into subdivisions at Ivy Springs and Oak Ridge drives, which are nearly across the road from each other.
“There’ll be a short three-lane section there,” Woodall said.
Plans call for later adding a left-turn lane at Capitola Farm Road, which leads to the 1,000-acre Sterling on the Lake subdivision.
The Spout Springs fixes add up to $1.64 million, funded by the county’s special purpose local option sales tax, and are expected to provide some congestion relief along the busy corridor.
During the school year, particularly, traffic can back up from Hog Mountain Road to near Ivy Springs.
For residents along that stretch, turning onto Spout Springs in either direction can be a chore.
Woodall said he believes the Elizabeth Lane traffic light could help out some. “It will at least give some gaps where you can get (on the road).”
Also, “we’re hoping that adding that additional through-lane ... will alleviate some of that (congestion),” he said. “We’ll still have the same volume going through there, but at least we’ll be able to process more of the cars through each signal cycle.”
Ultimately, the plan is to widen Spout Springs to four lanes from Hog Mountain to near the Gwinnett County line — work that could be years away, especially with limited available funding.