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Spout Springs widening project now starting 2 years earlier
Traffic flows on Spout Springs Road at Hog Mountain Road in Flowery Branch in December. Hall County is set to begin buying right-of-way this year to widen Spout Springs Road.

The long-awaited widening of Spout Springs Road in South Hall is now slated to begin a couple of years earlier.

The project will be done in phases, with the first phase focusing on Spout Springs between Interstate 985 and Union Circle.

The first major step is right of way acquisition, which was set for fiscal 2019 but now is set for fiscal 2017 — which began July 1 — and fiscal 2018, according to a Tuesday news release from Hall County.

Construction is set to begin in fiscal 2019.

“Right of way acquisition and construction from (Union Circle) to the project’s terminus south of Friendship Road is expected to follow shortly after,” the press release states.

Ken Rearden, Hall’s public works and public utilities director, said the Hall County Board of Commissioners could see a proposal within a couple of weeks to start buying right of way.

Also, “we have to redo a concept report that DOT needs to approve,” he said.

But otherwise, “we are working diligently (on the project),” Rearden said.

Spout Springs widening has been a major traffic concern for more than a decade, as the area has grown, particularly on the Flowery Branch and Braselton sides of the two-lane road.

“This project will relieve congestion, accommodate current and future travel demand, reduce crash frequency and severity and improve intersection operations to an acceptable level of service,” South Hall Commissioner Kathy Cooper said in the news release.

“All of that can now be accomplished even sooner with GDOT’s agreement to move the right of way acquisition dollars to fiscal year 2017.”

Richard Mecum, commission chairman, wrote to the Georgia Department of Transportation in June that Hall has special purpose local option sales tax funding available for the right of way acquisition.

The DOT will fund construction for the project and reimburse Hall for what it spends acquiring right of way, according to the news release.