A road expected to ease traffic at the fast-growing University of North Georgia campus in Oakwood could be finished by mid-October, weather permitting.
The new Loop Road, which has a December completion date, will connect Mundy Mill Road and Facilities Drive, an on-campus road that leads to the public safety building and plant operations.
Mundy Mill motorists will only be able to turn right onto Loop Road, and Loop Road motorists will only be able to turn right onto Mundy Mill.
The $1.3 million road, which is part of the UNG master plan, is intended “to help traffic flow on and off the campus and improve student safety,” said Bill Moody, the campus’ facilities and operations director. “In prior years, it has taken 30 minutes to get off campus at peaks times.”
“We feel it’s going to mostly relieve exit congestion,” said Ken Crowe, assistant vice president of facilities. “It’s kind of like a big sporting event. Everybody comes in at different times, but they leave at the same time.”
The main roads students now use to drive around campus are Mathis Drive, Campus Drive and Landrum Education Drive, traveling onto campus primarily from Mundy Mill Road and Thurmon Tanner Parkway.
“You’ve got this problem (on campus) where you have pedestrians crossing — and they have the right of way and need to get to class — but that holds traffic up,” Crowe said.
Loop Road, traveling behind the Hugh Mills Physical Education Center and Martha T. Nesbitt Academic Building, won’t have pedestrian crossings. The road will come out at the parking deck off Facilities Drive.
The road’s construction also “illustrates the growth UNG is experiencing, especially as we start planning for the acquisition of the Lanier Tech campus,” said Richard Oates, vice president of the Oakwood campus.
Lanier Tech, now off Landrum Education Drive, plans to open a new campus off Ga. 365 at Howard Road in 2019.
In 2017, the right turn lane from Mathis Drive onto Mundy Mill was lengthened in a Georgia Department of Transportation effort to help with traffic backups.
The project also was intended to ease general traffic at the busy intersection, a shopping hub that includes Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club stores.
“Oakwood supports the UNG loop road project,” City Manager Stan Brown said in an email last week. “We believe another ingress/egress to and from the campus will provide some relief to the congestion currently experienced at the Mundy Mill at Wal-Mart intersection.”