Land clearing has started on the new Exit 14 off Interstate 985.
Crews have been taking down trees particularly off the northbound side of I-985 in readying for building the interchange between Flowery Branch and Oakwood in South Hall.
The $34 million project calls for a diamond interchange connecting Martin Road at Falcon Parkway/Ga. 13 on the east side of I-985 to H.F. Reed Industrial Parkway at Thurmon Tanner Parkway on the west side.
The project, awarded to G.P.’s Enterprises in July 2017, will be completed in the fall of 2019, Georgia Department of Transportation spokeswoman Katie Strickland said.
Last year, after DOT public meetings on the project, huge opposition cropped up from Martin Road residents, many of whom placed “Stop Exit 14” signs in their yards.
Eventually, residents became part of a formal “stakeholders” group included as part of a countywide freight study, as the focus shifted more to how to deal with traffic coming off the exit.
One of the residents’ major concerns has been truck traffic traveling along Martin Road, which runs between Ga. 13 and Winder Highway/Ga. 53.
Residents also were opposed to the widening of Martin Road — a project that was eventually removed from Hall County’s transportation plans.
In August, the Hall County Board of Commissioners approved a $30,000 study by Wilburn Engineering of ways to slow traffic along the road, including stop signs or speed tables.
A long-term plan could involve a roundabout at the intersection of Martin Road and JM Turk Road.