With funding from area governments in the bag, all eyes are now on getting a key east-west connector between Gainesville and Oakwood designed and built.
Gainesville City Council voted last week to commit $200,000 to the Tumbling Creek Road bridge project, following an earlier vote by the Hall County Board of Commissioners to contribute $400,000 and Oakwood City Council’s decision to provide $50,000.
“The next steps are to complete the design and construct” the bridge, said Ken Rearden, Hall’s public utilities and public works director.
The project is already under design, he added, as the county commission has approved a consultant to do the work.
The design work could take 4-6 months to complete. Construction could take a year to 15 months, Rearden said.
The new bridge would extend Tumbling Creek Road across railroad tracks to Old Oakwood Road at Millside Parkway, ending up a short drive from the new Mundy Mill elementary school being built by Gainesville City Schools.
Previously, cars could travel across the tracks via Tumbling Circle, but the Georgia Department of Transportation ordered the closing of that railroad crossing in late 2014 out of safety concerns.
Hall County Commissioner Scott Gibbs has said the bridge is important because it serves as a backup for emergency vehicles if Old Oakwood Road or Atlanta Highway/Ga. 13 is shut down, giving them another option without having to go 4 or 5 miles out of the way.
But the bridge also could serve as a key traffic artery for motorists traveling Ga. 13, which is frequently congested between Interstate 985 and Memorial Park Drive.
Old Oakwood Road travels north to Mountain View Road, which leads to Memorial Park Drive. It also travels south to a major South Hall thoroughfare, Mundy Mill Road.
Oakwood is widening a section of Old Oakwood at Mundy Mill to accommodate construction of Performance Foodservice Milton’s 521,135-square-foot warehouse. The project is set for completion in February.
“We are planning on a future phase to continue the widening (of Old Oakwood) to Tumbling Creek Road,” Oakwood City Manager Stan Brown has said.