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Updates to Calvary Church Road in the works
Project includes widening three-mile stretch and softening curves
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Calvary Church Road will soon be a wider and safer route for county motorists, officials say.

The road is the main artery for trucks going to a number of industrial parks, the county jail and landfill. It also serves traffic traveling to Chicopee Woods Agricultural Center and Chicopee Woods Elementary School.

Hall County's Public Works Department is nearing completion on a project to widen a three-mile stretch of the road, soften its curves and smooth out its hills, according to Director Ken Rearden.

Construction, estimated at $3.6 million, should be complete by the end of the year, Rearden told the Hall County Board of Commissioners this week.

Revenues from special purpose local option sales tax will pay the total project cost, which, including costs for design and right-of-way acquisition, is $4.2 million.

County public works officials have been working on the project since May.

When complete, the road will have two 12-foot lanes in each direction from its intersection with Candler Road to Chicopee Woods elementary.

The project will also add turn lanes at major intersections with the road, including the road's intersection with Candler Road.

Rearden said the project will make the road's intersection with Candler Road safer, too, by changing the angle at which vehicles turn.

Commissioners on Thursday lauded the project as a key to future economic stimuli in Hall County.

The project serves the interest of five major industrial sites, including the site of the new 171-acre Gainesville business park and the home of the ZF Windpower plant.

"This particular project does do a lot to start to incubate economic development in that corridor," Commissioner Craig Lutz said. "Basically, when businesses come to Hall County, one of the things they're going to be really looking for is transportation and the ability to get their products on the road."

Commission Chairman Tom Oliver said the new ZF plant will bring 200 jobs to the community.

Next month, another company will break ground on a 24-acre industrial site on the road, which Oliver said "could conceivably be the biggest corporate sponsors this county's ever had."

Oliver said the project speaks well of sales tax projects.

Commissioner Scott Gibbs agreed.

"Until I became a commissioner back in January, I probably was not always against SPLOST but never saw a lot of positive things that it does," Gibbs said. "I think this road project is one of those, because with our limited availability of money in the general fund, there is not (property tax) money to do projects like this. ... If we don't have SPLOST to do these kind of projects, then they won't get done. If we don't have these projects, these industries are not going to locate here and add to our tax digest and add to our employment."

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