Years, even decades, after it was conceived as a project, the makeover of McEver Road at Jim Crow Road/Gainesville Street in Flowery Branch is underway.
“I’m glad it’s finally moving on,” Flowery Branch City Manager Bill Andrew said.
The $1.4 million project is expected to be completed in six months.
Funded by special purpose local option sales tax money, it calls for new right- and left-turn lanes at all approaches to the heavily used intersection.
Also featured are new pedestrian signals and ramps.
Hall County spokeswoman Katie Crumley said last week that storm drains on Gainesville Street are being installed first, with the contractor working with Georgia Power on tree clearing at the site.
“The paving contractor will then proceed to install the smaller storm lines on McEver,” she said.
Other work, including more storm drain installation along McEver and Jim Crow, will take place.
The plan “is to begin widening on the south side of McEver before they begin the installation of the storm lines on the north side of McEver, thus allowing enough space for two lanes of traffic,” Crumley said.
“There should be no lane closure required for Gainesville Street, and (the contractor) is hoping that lane closures on McEver will not be necessary,” she said.
The intersection is a key traffic node, with Gainesville Street leading to downtown Flowery Branch and Jim Crow leading to subdivisions and Lake Lanier. Also nearby are schools, Alberta Banks Park and Gainesville-operated Lakeside Water Treatment Plant.
“We’ve been working, in some sense, you could say 20 or 30 years on trying to get turn lanes on McEver Road,” Andrew said in March to a group of area road planners.
“There had been a hope to have (the Jim Crow project done) last fall … and we missed that deadline,” he said.
The city’s frustration spilled over in an April City Council meeting with Hall County Public Works and Utilities Director Ken Rearden.
Mayor Mike Miller told Rearden he wanted the project, which had been batted between the council and the Hall County Board of Commissioners since 2009 and has a price tag that’s grown by hundreds of thousands of dollars, done “last week.”
Rearden told the council that relocation of utilities — a major stumbling block on the project moving forward — would wrap up in late May. Utility work is continuing alongside the other efforts.
Hall County has otherwise stayed busy paving and rebuilding roads in the area for quite a while.
Workers spent much of 2016 fixing up a nearby 2-mile stretch of McEver Road in Oakwood that had been marked by long, jagged asphalt cracks.