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Stimulus road work wont interfere with fall football
Afternoon traffic had been bogging down at Mount Vernon project
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School buses and cars crowd Mount Vernon Road on Tuesday afternoon as North Hall Middle and High schools let out for the day. Starting this week, the Georgia Department of Transportation’s resurfacing project on the road goes to overnight work only, except for Friday nights, when the North Hall Trojans are playing.

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Georgia Department of Transportation spokeswoman Teri Pope talks about the Mount Vernon Road resurfacing project and switching to overnight hours of working.

Good news, football fans.

Orange barrels and pilot cars associated with two area Georgia Department of Transportation projects won’t interfere with the trip to the game.

The resurfacing of Mount Vernon Road now is taking place overnight from 8 p.m. to 5:30 a.m. Sundays through Thursdays, meaning that Friday nights are free for North Hall High School Trojan fans to travel unobstructed to home games.

A similar project is expected to start today on U.S. 129, with work also running 8 p.m. to 5:30 a.m. Sundays through Thursdays, said Teri Pope, a DOT spokeswoman.

“Sometimes, if (a contractor) gets backed up, they want to work on weekends and stuff,” Pope said.

But not in this case.

“The contract (says) no work on Saturdays of home University of Georgia football games,” Pope said. “We recognize this is a major route to Athens.”

Both projects are set for completion in April but, depending largely on weather, could be finished by the end of the year, Pope said.

The DOT is using federal stimulus money to pay for the projects.

Mount Vernon is being resurfaced from Thompson Bridge Road to Dahlonega Highway in North Hall.

The work began in early August with work taking place in the daytime, a schedule that raised some initial concerns for Jewel Armour, transportation director for the Hall County school system.

Three schools — North Hall High, North Hall Middle and Mount Vernon Elementary — are clustered around Mount Vernon at Jim Hood Road.

The contract for the work stated that crews weren’t permitted to work within a half-mile of North Hall Middle School and North Hall High School between 2:30 and 3:30 p.m., Pope said.

“I’ve not heard of any problems (concerning school traffic),” Armour said.

Resurfacing work switched to the overnight hours on Tuesday, so it shouldn’t have as much affect on traffic, school-related, rush-hour or otherwise.

“Once we got to the point where we were going to start construction, we started thinking about all the other things that happen at the schools, like Friday night football games, and just the sheer amount of traffic cutting through Mount Vernon,” Pope said.

“... Anytime we were out there after 2 p.m., the road just bogged down ... coming from both directions,” she said.

The DOT “could not force the contractor to work overnights only because (that restriction) wasn’t in the contract that (the company) bid on and was awarded, but we worked on strongly encouraging that work immediately,” Pope said.

The contractor, C.W. Matthews, “has agreed that now that they have finished the patching and leveling work, they will do the resurfacing work overnight,” she said.

The estimated cost of the 9.3-mile project is $1.2 million.

The U.S. 129 project begins at Gillsville Highway, near the DOT’s regional office, and runs to Monroe Drive, a 3-mile stretch. The project will cost $1.1 million.

In a future stimulus project, the DOT plans to rebuild some concrete slabs and rework joints on Ga. 365 from Ga. 369/Jesse Jewell Parkway to Ga. 52/Lula Road, a 7.9-mile stretch, at a cost of $2.2 million.

The project is scheduled to be completed May 31, but no start date has been set, Pope said.

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