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Why Athens Highway widening won’t be finished this summer
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Georgia Department of Transportation crews build the road bed of the new Highway 129 between Baker Road and Roy Parks Road Thursday, Sept. 6, 2018. - photo by Scott Rogers

The Athens Highway/U.S. 129 widening in East Hall is being delayed by a year because of "significant utility delays," Georgia Department of Transportation District Engineer Kelvin Mullins said Wednesday, May 20.

The delay is because of water line relocation issues, he said during a Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce transportation forum.

Mullins didn’t elaborate in the teleconference, and DOT officials couldn’t be reached for comment.

“This (project) is one that a lot of people were probably expecting would be completed this year. It’s not going to be open this summer,” Mullins said. “It’ll probably be next summer.”

The 7-mile, $45 million project, which began in August 2016, runs between Gillsville Highway/Ga. 332 in Hall to Talmo in Jackson County.

The road is considered a vital truck/commerce route as it connects Interstate 85 to Interstate 985, especially as the DOT is widening I-85 from four to six lanes between Ga. 53 and Ga. 129.

“We just awarded the (I-85) project recently (to a contractor),” DOT Commissioner Russell McMurry said during the forum.

The widening is “very critical because both Braselton and Jefferson have such a big freight distribution warehousing area, but also it makes that critical connection to U.S. 129,” McMurry said. “Having this connection radiating north and east will benefit Hall County, without a doubt.”

Road projects

Here’s a look at what’s underway or in development:

Athens Highway widening

Where: Gillsville Highway to Talmo

Cost: $45 million

Completion: summer 2021

Browns Bridge replacement

Where: Browns Bridge Road at Hall-Forsyth County line

Cost: $27 million

Completion: spring 2021

Dawsonville Highway bridge replacement

Where: Dawsonville Highway westbound over the Chattahoochee River

Cost: $26 million

Completion: November 2022

Green Street improvements

Where: Between Gainesville Civic Center and E.E. Butler Parkway, including roundabouts at either end

Cost: $18 million

Completion: to be determined; construction set to start in 2025

Howard Road interchange

Where: Howard Road/Lanier Tech Drive at Ga. 365

Cost: $14.5 million

Completion: to be determined; construction could start in December 2022

Spout Springs Road widening, phase one

Where: Hog Mountain Road to Union Circle

Cost: $32 million

Completion: December 2021

Spout Springs Road widening, phase one

Where: Union Circle to Gwinnett County line

Cost: $26.2 million

Completion: to be determined as funding hasn’t been identified

Sardis Road Connector

Where: Dawsonville Highway to Thompson Bridge Road

Cost: $26.5 million

Completion: October 2024

Regional events