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Dawson County commissioners approve funds to study problematic roadway
Elliott Road 2021-09-17
Elliott Road is in southeastern Dawson County (Google Maps)

After years of drivers and pedestrians raising concerns, the Dawson County Board of Commissioner took a concrete step to tackle unsafe conditions on Elliott Road near Lake Lanier.  

During their Sept.16 voting session, the commissioners unanimously approved Davis Engineering & Surveying’s proposal of $23,000 for design services along the corridor. Funds from SPLOST VI will be used to pay for the venture.  

“We’re allowing the engineering company to come in and get the exact data we’ve always needed,” commissioner Chris Gaines said.

Elliott Road spans about a mile long, starting from its intersection with Ga. 53 East and featuring a hairpin curve before ending at Sunset Drive.  

About two-thirds of the roadway only provides access to residential properties, and along that portion, there is not a connection to “arterial'' or “collector” roads, Public Works Director Denise Farr pointed out during a presentation to the BOC. 

That makes it the sole point of ingress and egress for Elliott Road and proximate streets, like Sunset Drive and Ruby Lane, she added.  

Elliott Road’s asphalt widths vary from 12 to 23 feet, when the recommended width for dual travel lanes is 22 feet. Rights of way vary along it from about 12 to 40 feet. Minimal recommended right-of-way width is 40 feet, which Farr explained already exists at the road’s commercial portion, with curb and gutter on the west side.  

Furthermore, the road is poorly aligned, which lends itself to several limited sight distance issues. Farr called that and the narrow lanes a “potential safety hazard to both pedestrian and vehicle traffic.” 

Commissioner Sharon Fausett agreed on the road’s dangerousness and asked Farr what caused its issues to be raised again.  

Farr noted that property owners on the road had previously been presented with the option to put two more feet of asphalt on both sides. 

“It wasn’t providing safety upgrades or places for larger trucks to go through, so this is providing for a complete overhaul of the road, to not only widen it but to realign it,” Farr said.  

The engineering firm’s designs will account for proposed road realignment and 20 more feet of asphalt on each side.  

“They [the firm] will survey for that so they can provide the owners with a plat for each parcel saying, “Here’s the right of way you have today, and here’s the additional right of way the county will be requiring you to donate,’” Farr added.  

Gaines asked Farr about the timeline for the engineering study, and she estimated it would take about three to four months. She added that there is already a template for right-of-way donation request letters.  

“The majority of people [there] I’ve heard are very much willing to give some of that to make that happen,” Gaines said.  

“I’d like to put this on our website, so the homeowners can see the whole project, not just their parcel,” she added, “so they can get a better idea of what the roads are going to look like and what we’re asking for.”