Right of way acquisition could start in earnest this spring on the Spout Springs Road widening project in South Hall.
Hall County’s right of way agreement with Georgia is nearing approval, possibly within a month.
“We (would) then be able to start (the process),” said Ken Rearden, Hall’s public works and public utilities director, on Thursday. “We have all contracts on our end in place to begin that immediately.”
Buying needed property is the first major step toward widening the heavily traveled road — the first phase taking place between Interstate 985 and Union Circle.
The project will affect part or all of 143 residential and 18 commercial properties along that stretch.
Construction could start in 2018-19, costing about $60 million, officials have said.
The total amount of available right of way funding for the project is $22 million, Rearden said.
Although federal regulations forbid any negotiations before the right of way acquisition process starts, Moreland Altobelli Associates, Hall’s Duluth-based consultant on the project, has started contacting residents to explain upcoming processes.
“And homeowners have been meeting with county staff on a regular basis to discuss their issues,” Rearden said.
The project will be one of the county’s most ambitious and long-awaited projects, especially as traffic only continues to mount along the two-lane road.
The road is largely residential, including the ever-growing Sterling on the Lake subdivision, which sits on 1,000 acres. In October, the Hall County Board of Commissioners approved a 187-lot subdivision on 102 acres near Quincy Drive.
Spout Springs, which also features schools and churches, also has bustling commercial areas in Flowery Branch and Braselton.
Anthony Woods, who leases an auto repair shop on Spout Springs, said in an interview this fall that he was preparing for the worst.
The project “may shut the business down,” he said. “If that happens, then I’ll just find another location to open.”
At one time, officials considered widening Spout Springs from I-985 to Thompson Mill Road as one project.
But now the county is looking at doing the project in phases, with the first work taking place between I-985 and Union Circle and the second phase between Union Circle and south of Friendship Road/Ga. 347 in Braselton.