Looks like more orange cones for Hall County
Update on Georgia Department of Transportation projects
By Kit Dunlap, President/CEO, Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce
The Georgia Department of Transportation Board of Directors and Staff held its July board meeting in Gainesville-Hall County at Lake Lanier Islands, and the Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce was the host for our community.
By Georgia law, the Department of Transportation is required to hold three meetings a year outside of Metro Atlanta. I applaud the organization for doing this and visiting various communities throughout the state. This gives communities the opportunity to meet with GDOT Board members and address with them, individually, the needs and concerns regarding local and regional transportation issues. These GDOT board members and staff were able to see, first-hand, the growth that is occurring in Gainesville-Hall County.
Our team was able to show them current transportation projects in the construction stage and discuss others that are in different planning and implementation stages. “Seeing really is believing…” certainly in the area of need for new and improved roads.
Transportation projects that local citizens and government leaders talked to GDOT officials about were throughout Hall County including projects that currently have only partial funding, South Hall County’s growing population and East-West connectivity:
South Hall County
South Hall County’s busting population was discussed and the need to make priorities for the following:
Exit 14: I-985 at Martin Road (only new interchange planned on I-985, connect Oakwood Industrial Park to the Interstate).
(A Public Information Open House is scheduled on Thursday, August 16, 4:00 – 7:00 p.m. at Martin Elementary School.
Exit 12: I-985 at Spout Springs Road
Exit 16: I-985 at Mundy Mill Road
Widening SR53 to four (4) lanes from I-85 to SR211 adjacent to Road Atlanta (320,000+ visitors per year)
Widening SR211 to four (4) lanes from I-85 to SR53 (connects to new hospital site)
City of Gainesville
City of Gainesville’s need for traffic to travel around the city rather than through it.
North Hall County
North Hall and the Sardis connector from SR60 to SR53 to provide East-West connectivity and better access to three schools in that corridor.
As part of VISION 2030, our local team told the GDOT Board and Staff about three initiatives that were developed from hundreds of citizens’ input:
Development of highways and byways around the City of Gainesville
The future includes high-speed rail service between Gainesville, Athens and Atlanta
The need for an East-West connector for business and tourism (I-75 – I-85)
Our community and our region have many transportation needs and challenges, as does the entire State of Georgia. I congratulate the Georgia Department of Transportation Board of Directors and Staff. They listened to us and learned from us. They have an almost impossible task in Georgia in juggling the needs of transportation projects in all counties while not having the resources to make them happen. They are thinking out of the box and developing new ideas on funding transportation and methods of transportation.
And thank you Mike Evans, Chairman of the Board of the Georgia Department of Transportation! He announced at the July meeting a project that is very important to us – the reconfiguration of Exit 22, the gateway into Gainesville. This interchange will be completely redone and construction should begin in the fall of 2007.
Here in Gainesville-Hall County, we will continue to see a lot of orange barrels and cones, and that’s a good thing!