A major South Hall traffic bottleneck has gotten some relief.
The Georgia Department of Transportation has activated a traffic signal at Ga. 347 and Spout Springs Road in Braselton, in the midst of a bustling — and growing — commercial center.
“It’s very nice. I’m excited about the other (signal) going operational as well,” said Braselton City Manager Jennifer Dees.
A public-private project featuring road improvements and new ornamental traffic lights in the area began last year, with another signal planned at the Duncan Corners crossing of Spout Springs and Thompson Mill Road.
“They’ve poured the concrete foundation, and it’s got to cure 30 days before they can (install) the poles,” Dees said. “(Motorists) should see poles there within a month.”
The new traffic signals will be synchronized once both are operational, said Teri Pope, spokeswoman for the DOT’s Gainesville-based District 1.
The long-term plan is to widen Ga. 347/Friendship Road in two phases from Ga. 211/Old Winder Highway to McEver Road.
“We are currently buying the needed rights of way to widen (the road),” said Todd McDuffie, DOT district engineer.
There are 242 parcels in the first phase between Ga. 211 and Interstate 985, “and we have closed on 115 parcels,” he added. “This public-private partnership allows us to ... get an interim improvement to the area that will improve traffic flow.”
As part of that effort, Ga. 347 has been realigned between Kroger and Publix-anchored shopping centers and running up to Spout Springs.
The Duncans Corner crossing will be reconfigured somewhat, as the old Ga. 347/Friendship Road juts in at Thompson Mill just yards from Spout Springs.
Crews “have a done a ton of work at the intersection, with curb, gutters and sidewalks,” Dees said. “They’ll have to put in pedestrian crossing signs and restripe (the roadway).”
Homes and subdivisions surround the area, with the crossing just a short hop to the Gwinnett County line.
The new traffic light seems to be easing traffic “because we haven’t gotten any of the typical phone calls,” Pope said. “It seems like the area was really waiting for that signal. Most of the calls we were getting were when, when, when?”
Bill Mays, owner of Papa Jack’s restaurant off Spout Springs near the crossing, said he has mixed feelings about the project.
It’ll help loosen up traffic jams. At the same time, “if (motorists) are flying through there, I hope they’re able to still see me,” he said.
Hall County is supplying improvements to Spout Springs Road on the opposite end of the busy stretch — or closer to Flowery Branch.
Efforts include a new traffic light at Elizabeth Lane, a center turn lane between Elizabeth Lane and Union Circle, adding an additional through lane for northbound motorists at Hog Mountain Road and adding left-turn lanes at Ivy Springs Drive and Capitola Farm Road.
Overall, the work will cost $1.64 million, with Hall County’s special purpose local option sales tax paying for the work. The contractor is scheduled to complete part of the project by July 31 and the rest by Oct. 31.