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The signs dont lie: Minor road work still ahead in I-985 project
Work on the $75 million reconstruction project on Interstate 985 will wrap up at the end of December. - photo by SARA GUEVARA

There are plenty of signs, including a blinking electronic one, about approaching road work but nary a construction worker on Interstate 985 in South Hall.

Despite traffic flowing around exits 16 and 17 without the nagging orange construction barrels, some minor work — "punch-list" items — is left to be done on the $75 million reconstruction project.

"Signs will stay up until there is not the potential for any lane closures," said Teri Pope, District 1 spokeswoman for the Georgia Department of Transportation.

The project, which began three years ago, has an official completion date of Dec. 31.

"But the punch-list items could go beyond that," Pope said.

The final work will include permanent striping, installing pedestrian crossing signs and timing of signals.

Also, crews will need to complete the lighting in the tunnel on the northbound exit ramp to Atlanta Highway/Ga. 13, place raised pavement markers on state routes and Thurmon Tanner Parkway, and finish lighting at the new Park and Ride lot off Atlanta Highway and Thurmon Tanner.

"Some of the work is temperature-sensitive," Pope said, especially citing the striping work. "So, weather plays a big part. I do not have a timeline (for the remaining work) because I don’t know the weather."

The project, Hall County’s largest involving roads, entailed building the new interchange at Atlanta Highway, widening Atlanta Highway between Frontage Road and just beyond Blackshear Place Baptist Church, widening Mundy Mill Road between Gainesville State College and Atlanta Highway and building one segment of the four-lane Thurmon Tanner Parkway.

Also, the project featured sidewalks along Mundy Mill Road and additional left-turn lanes.

"Sometimes, punch-list work is not included in the (DOT contract)," Pope said. "And if the (contractor is) having to do something over, we don’t pay them for that."

The DOT has one remaining major road project under construction in the area — completing the final leg of Thurmon Tanner.

The four-lane road now starts at Phil Niekro Boulevard in Flowery Branch, ends at Plainview Road in Oakwood and then picks up again at Mundy Mill Road before ending at Atlanta Highway and Exit 17.

The final leg has Thurmon Tanner running between Plainview and Mundy Mill roads. The $9.1 million project is projected to be completed by December 2010.

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