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More 2017 road work proposed
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The Dawson County Board of Commissioners last week approved an application for county money to be used to repair several roads in Dawson County.

The application, presented by Public Works Director David McKee, was approved at the board's Nov. 3 meeting and will be submitted to the Georgia Department of Transportation so that the county can be approved for a program that takes part of the State Motor Fuel Tax collections, plus a 30 percent match from Dawson County, and uses the funds to repair roads.

The total amount from the matching grant will be nearly $500,000.

The money is proposed to be used to repair parts of Henry Grady Hwy., Harmony Church Road, Beartooth Parkway, Stonehedge Estates, Sunshine Court and Hemlock Drive.

According to the application documents, approximately one mile of Henry Grady Highway, between Ga. 400 and Hwy. 136, would be repaired beginning in April 2017.

About one mile of Harmony Church Road between Ga. 400 and Hwy. 136 would be repaired beginning in May 2017. Half a mile of Beartooth Parkway between Ga. 400 and Hwy. 53 would be repaired beginning April 2017.

According to McKee, the work on these three much-traveled roads is necessary so that the roads don't end up in the same situation as Dawson Forest Road, which earlier this fall underwent a full-depth reclamation where the entire road was taken up and a new one was laid down.

"Beartooth Parkway for example is at the point where something needs to be done to it, and we fully anticipate with the road construction that the DOT is currently doing that that is going to become a quick cut-through road," McKee said. "Same thing with Henry Grady Hwy. and Harmony Church Road: all those roads are at a point where they can be saved without a full-depth reclamation."

Two of the roads, Harmony Church Road and Henry Grady Highway, will be widened.
"If you look at those roads now there is no shoulder and we are continuously adding patches to the shoulder," McKee said. "So we're going to widen it to provide for a paved shoulder just like we did with Dawson Forest."

Work on parts of Sunshine Court, Hemlock Drive and Stonehedge Estates would begin in September 2017. McKee said that the work on those roads would be preventative upkeep.

"These are all small roads that have little to no plant mix asphalt on them and this would allow us to fix those roads and not have to deal with them for the next 10-15 years," he said.

These road repairs and further work on the continuous flow intersection at Ga. 400 and Hwy 53 are not the only construction that Dawson County will continue to see into next year.

The GDOT's plans to replace two of Dawson County's bridges that span over the Etowah River have continued, though visible construction has not yet begun. According to Katie Strickland, spokesperson with GDOT, work on the Etowah River bridges located on Hwy. 136 and Hwy. 9 near Rock Creek will soon appear more obvious.

"You might not see the bridge being demolished, or new beams placed yet, but work is still happening," Strickland said.

Strickland said work on the Hwy. 9 bridge before March of 2017 will be restricted to the contractor installing signs and moving in equipment, because electric lines will have to be moved and GDOT does not want electric companies moving the lines in the winter in case of power outages.

Strickland said work will start on the actual structure of the Hwy.136 bridge on Feb. 1.

The bridges are heavily travelled, and repair work was delayed in 2015 due to federal cuts. Both bridges were given failing ratings by the state at the time, but have remained operational.

McKee said in September that the county does not have anything to do with the bridge replacement, but that they are aware of need for the improvements being done.

"Those bridges are in much need of improvement," McKee said. "The GDOT is upgrading them because they are weight restricted. Right now large commercial trucks can't go over them and therefore have only one way to access the rest of the county and that is through Hwy. 53."