With all its needed property in hand, Hall County hopes to start building the long-awaited Tumbling Creek bridge in the spring.
The opening of construction bids is set for Jan. 23, said Ken Rearden, Hall County’s public works and utilities director.
The right of way “has been donated by all parties, and we are on track to start construction,” he said in a Tuesday email. “... We have a 15-month schedule in the bid. Assuming all goes well, (the bridge’s) opening will be summer 2019.”
When completed, the South Hall bridge would provide a more direct connection between Atlanta Highway/Ga. 13 and Mundy Mill Road/Ga. 53.
The bridge, spanning Norfolk Southern railroad tracks, would extend Tumbling Creek Road about 900 feet to Millside Parkway at Old Oakwood Road, where a traffic light is planned.
Both Millside Parkway and Old Oakwood Road run to Mundy Mill Road. Tumbling Creek Road now juts off Atlanta Highway, a short distance from Interstate 985.
Tumbling Creek Road and Millside Parkway were once connected by a rail crossing, but the area was closed in 2013 following seven vehicle crashes at the crossing from 2003 to 2013. One of the crashes involved an Amtrak train, according to Hall County’s grant application to Georgia Department of Transportation, which is providing some funding for the project.
About 24 trains pass over the crossing each day, including two daily Amtrak trains, and the freight rail traffic includes hazardous materials — meaning restoring a road-level crossing at the tracks is out of the question.
The bridge would have two lanes and a multi-use path, Rearden said.
Restoring the connection would not only better connect residential traffic in the area, but give emergency responders easier access to the new Mundy Mill Academy and new subdivisions in the area.
The project is being funded by Hall County, DOT, the Georgia Transportation Infrastructure Bank, Gainesville and Oakwood.