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August 2021 completion date in sight for this major Hall-Jackson road project
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Motorist travel along Athens Highway Wednesday, Jan. 27, 2021, alongside orange barrels where the widening project, delayed a year, continues. - photo by Scott Rogers

The Athens Highway widening in Hall and Jackson counties is on track for an August 2021 completion, according to the Georgia Department of Transportation.

Still, “there is remaining bridge work, grading, as well as final resurfacing and striping,” GDOT spokeswoman Natalie Dale said.

Also, “some of the new lanes are being used, but it is still in a two-lane pattern,” she said.

The project, which began in August 2016, had been scheduled for a 2020 completion but ended up getting delayed a year because of “significant utility” issues, officials said last year.

When done, U.S. 129 will be four lanes between Interstate 85 and Interstate 985. U.S. 129 is now four lanes between I-985 and Gillsville Highway and between Talmo and I-85.

The $45 million work underway now — 7 miles between Gillsville Highway/Ga. 332 in Hall to Talmo in Jackson County — is the final four-lane link.

The road is considered a vital truck/commerce route as it connects the two interstates, especially as the DOT is also widening I-85 from four to six lanes between Ga. 53 and U.S. 129.

Distribution warehouses also are located in Braselton and Jefferson, and springing up in Hall.

“Having this connection radiating north and east will benefit Hall County, without a doubt,” DOT Commissioner Russell McMurry has said.

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Traffic moves along Athens Highway Wednesday, Jan. 27, 2021, alongside orange barrels where the widening project, delayed a year, continues. - photo by Scott Rogers
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Motorist travel along Athens Highway Wednesday, Jan. 27, 2021, alongside orange barrels where the widening project, delayed a year, continues. - photo by Scott Rogers
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