Transportation Forum Recap

Read the full report: Transportation Forum 2016 Presentation

Over 200 Chamber members, government and business officials, gathered at the University of North Georgia on March 10 for the Annual Transportation Forum. Presenters included officials from the Georgia Department of Transportation and the Gainesville-Hall County MPO. Work is expected to begin later this year on three major projects: Athens Highway widening in East Hall; replacement of the Dawsonville Highway bridge over the Chestatee River arm of Lake Lanier in West Hall; and Atlanta Highway widening between Buford and Lanier Islands Parkway in South Hall.

The earliest of those could be the Dawsonville Highway bridge, or Boling Bridge, a $23 million project. “These bridges are 60 years old,” Georgia Department of Transportation Commissioner Russell McMurry said, referring to Lake Lanier bridges in general. “Good gosh, they’re only designed to last about 50. They’ve done pretty good, but it’s time to move on.”

Also upcoming on the DOT’s agenda for Hall is the $74 million planned widening of Athens Highway/U.S. “That is a critical connection for freight mobility from Interstate 85 to Interstate 985,” he said.

Another key improvement, particularly for South Hall travelers, is the $22 million widening of Atlanta Highway/Ga. 13 between Sawnee Drive in Buford to Lanier Islands Parkway/Ga. 347. Work could start this fall on four-lane project through Rest Haven, a small incorporated area on the Hall-Gwinnett County line, DOT District Engineer Brent Cook said.

Work has been completed on Ga. 347 between McEver Road and I-985. Widening the road to four and six lanes between I-985 and Ga. 211 is set for completion in June. A future project would involve widening Ga. 347 between McEver and the resort.

McMurry also said a new transportation tax system — going to a 26-cent excise tax from a state sales tax — is starting to reap benefits, along with a 5-year plan for federal highway funding. “We’re now going to be able to deliver more projects,” he said.

McMurry said planning for widening I-985 now moves up in priority.