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DOT comes to town
Plans to improve section of Hwy. 53
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The Georgia Department of Transportation will hold a detour open house from 5-7 p.m. on April 16, concerning a project to improve the Hwy. 53 intersection with Thompson and Etowah River roads.


Held at Dawson County High School, 1665 Perimeter Road, Dawsonville, the meeting will be informal and the public is invited to attend.


Classified as an intersection improvement project by the department of transportation, the proposed roadwork will serve three purposes: lowering the grade of Hwy. 53 as it approaches Thompson Road, straightening out Hwy. 53 at the intersections of Thompson and Etowah River roads and lowering the grade of Thompson Road.


The proposed project will also include the addition of right and left turn lanes on Hwy. 53, as well as the addition of left turn lanes on Thompson Road and Etowah River Road.


There will be no formal presentation at the open house. A court reporter will be available during the meeting time to give the public an opportunity to make comments about the project, and provide an opportunity to view plans of the proposed detour and ask questions.


“This project will help the intersection of Thompson Road and Hwy. 53, improving the overall operation, function and safety of the intersection,” said Teri Pope, communications officer with the department of transportation.


Pope also mentioned that this project is one that the department of transportation has been working on for the past four years.


“There has been an increase in traffic on Hwy. 53 since the outlet mall opened, and because of higher traffic levels more accidents have occurred at this location,” she said. “With this project, we aim to continue traffic flow even when cars exit Hwy. 53 and turn left onto Thompson Road.”


According to Robert Mahoney, district pre-construction engineer for the Georgia Department of Transportation, this project is a safety measure.


“The significance of this project is to provide a way of refuge for a left turn vehicle on Hwy. 53. Anytime a vehicle turns left it becomes a safety issue,” he said.


Because Hwy. 53 is a state road, it is under the jurisdiction of the state department of transportation when repairs or improvements are needed.


Funding for the road improvements will come from typical state road funding, which is made up of 80 percent federal gas tax dollars and 20 percent state tax dollars, according to Pope.


Pope said that in order to begin the project, 12 parcels of land will need to be purchased by the state to make the necessary changes to the roads.


She added that Dawson County can expect to see the project begin in the late summer or early fall of 2010.


There will be a detour provided during the project that will utilize Thompson Road and Hugh Stowers Road to access Hwy. 53.


Thompson Road will be closed during the latter stages of the project in order to accommodate reconstruction and a grade change.


Access to local driveways is intended to be maintained throughout construction.

Any comments made regarding the project will be included in the transcript of the open house, which will be available for review until April 28, as soon as it is prepared at the Georgia Department of Transportation Gainesville District 1 Office located at 2505 Athens Hwy. in Gainesville.


The displays at the open house will also be available at the District 1 Office until April 28.


Written statements will be accepted concerning the project until April 28, and may be submitted to: Mr. Glenn Bowman, P.E., State Environmental/Location Engineer, 3993 Aviation Circle, Atlanta, GA, 30336.