Hall County plans to start this fall acquiring right of way for the second phase of the Spout Springs Road widening project in South Hall, two years earlier than expected, officials said this week.
“The county is moving ahead with the (effort) as Spout Springs continues to remain one of our top roadway projects,” said Srikanth Yamala, director of public works and utilities, in an email to The Times.
The announcement is a reversal of what officials had said about the project’s schedule.
Hall County said in July 2020 that right of way acquisition on the second phase would start in the fall of 2023 — or three years later than had been originally expected.
The later date served as a “placeholder since we needed the SPLOST dollars for (right of way),” Yamala said. “Given the priority/need for this project, the cash flow is being readjusted so the gap between (Spout Springs’) phase I and II is minimized as much as possible.”
The project hinged on the outcome of a November 2019 referendum on Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax VIII, which calls for $73.6 million for road improvements, including $26.8 million for right of way acquisition and other preliminary work in Spout Springs’ second phase.
SPLOST VIII was approved by voters.
Starting acquisition of right of way this fall thrilled at least one homeowner along that section of the road, Veronica de Kozan.
She and husband Paul’s home off Sherwood Mill Drive would be taken by the project, based on a project map.
“It will be great for us, because we are in a bad situation of not being able to live in our house, really,” Veronica de Kozan said.
The couple has been saddled with mobility issues, including her double knee replacement.
“What we need to live in is just a one-story house, where you don’t need a ramp,” she said. “All you do is go out the door, and get your walker.”
“One thing we’ve been prevented from doing is putting our house on the market,” Paul de Kozan said in a September 2019 interview. “As responsible citizens, we cannot put our house on the market and not tell somebody what’s down the road.”
One thing that hasn’t changed about the project is when the second phase — a segment between Union Circle and Thompson Mill Road — would be built.
“As far as construction dollars go, we are still in the process of exploring various options, but nothing has been finalized yet,” Yamala said.
Meanwhile, work is well underway on the $32 million first phase between Union Circle and Hog Mountain Road, as drivers can attest to with the frequent lane closures. That phase is projected to be completed in December, officials have said.