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These Dawson County roadways will soon close for construction
BOC recap 1 June 1 2023
Construction signs are posted along the county's Dawson Forest Road East approaching the route's intersection with Ga. 53 and Thompson Creek Park Road. - photo by Julia Hansen

Portions of two Dawson County roadways will soon temporarily close for different projects, County Manager Joey Leverette said at the Board of Commissioners’ June 1 work session. 

This story continues below.

Two different local roadways will soon temporarily close for construction work, according to previous notices from Dawson County’s government. 

Starting on Thursday, June 15, Dawson Forest Road at its intersection with Ga. 53 will be closed until Aug. 1 for construction of the planned roundabout there, but Ga. 53 will not be closed, stated an updated Dawson County Government Facebook post. 

Thompson Creek Park Road will remain open for residents and park visitors.

Blacks Mill Road from Blacks Mill Creek Bridge to Dawson Forest Road will close starting Monday, June 19 for sewer line and water main installations.

This closure is expected to last about three months. During this time, Blacks Mill Road will be closed to through traffic. 

Maps shared by the Dawson County Government show detour information for both the Blacks Mill and Dawson Forest Road closures. 

BOC recap 2-2 June 1 2023
BOC recap 2 June 1 2023
Dawson County’s new county manager, Joey Leverette, talks about multiple road projects during his first public meeting alongside the Board of Commissioners on June 1. - photo by Julia Hansen

Four months ago, the Dawson County commissioners unanimously approved contractor Vertical Earth’s $1.547 million bid for the roundabout, paid for by money from the Georgia Department of Transportation and the county’s fund balance. 

The two-phase project will include the construction of a roundabout and the realignment of Thompson Creek Park Road.

After the board’s June 1 meetings, Public Works Director Robert Drewry clarified that the Dawson Forest Road or roundabout side of the project will actually be constructed first, before the Thompson Creek Park Road portion. Then, the two project sides will be linked, Drewry said.  

Leverette also updated the board on the bridge replacement project for the Ga. 183 bridge over Cochran Creek.

Weather permitting, the Georgia Department of Transportation project is currently on schedule, and the bridge is set to reopen on Aug. 2, Leverette said. 

“A number of people have asked about that. It’s still somewhat of a fair inconvenience for some folks because of that bridge closure,” Leverette added.

Paving and culvert projects

On Thursday, the board discussed the merits of a $3.9 million bid from Blount Construction for road paving and full-depth reclamation (FDR) projects along Kelly Bridge, Goodson and War Hill Park roads. 

If approved, the projects will be paid for using money from the county’s sixth and seventh Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax funds. 

During a presentation at the board’s June 1 work session, Public Works Director Robert Drewry explained what would be done for each of the paving and FDR projects. 

The first project he discussed was Kelly Bridge Road, from Cowart Road to the Forsyth County line. That project would come with a $1.64 million price tag.

The second project will be Goodson Road from Dawson Forest Road to the Forsyth County line. That section of Goodson Road is “almost two miles” in length, said Drewry. Just under $1.47 million would be allocated to fix it.

As well, just over $819,000 was discussed for repaving War Hill Park Road from State Route 53 to Liberty Church Road. 

“Just for the sake of the public, how did we come up with these particular projects?”, District 2 Commissioner Chris Gaines said to Drewry.

The public works director mentioned how these roadways had been on his department’s prior priority lists.

“We definitely wanted to get the bids out as quickly as we could because we wanted to do them this year,” Drewry told the board. “If we’d waited too much longer, they probably wouldn’t [be able to] finish it this year.”

If approved, the majority of these three projects, except for perhaps the road shoulders, would be scheduled to be completed by the end of November, Drewry later added. 

The BOC also talked about approving a $735,455 bid from Townley Construction for culvert projects along some of those same roadways Thursday. 

Funding would come from SPLOST VII and finance three culvert replacements along Kelly Bridge Road, two on Goodson Road and one along Indian Cove Road. 

All of these projects involve replacing deteriorating corrugated metal pipes with reinforced concrete pipes, Drewry said. 

Drewry explained that the Indian Cove Road project, which he previously called “more critical than any of the other projects,” would need to be bid out again. 

In part, that’s because the contractor submitted a bid for slip lining on Indian Cove Road rather than for replacing the culvert as well as an unsolicited bid for lining the other culvert projects, Drewry said. 

“We are looking at that culvert a little bit closer,” Drewry said. “It is a one-way in, one-way out [situation], and we knew that would be a challenge for the contractor, because you obviously have to allow people to go in and out, including emergency services.”

He added that his department may consider options such as possibly slip lining “of some sort” or a completely new pipe. 

BOC chairman Billy Thurmond confirmed that the new culverts will be the same size as the current ones, with concrete headwalls.

“Unfortunately, we have a whole lot of these corrugated metal ones throughout [the county], so over time, they’ll all have to be replaced,” Thurmond added.

Public survey

Dawson County is also gathering input for its long-range Comprehensive Plan through an ongoing survey

Leverette mentioned that feedback from the survey will help public officials“guide development and capital projects in the county.”

Survey responses are kept confidential, and questions range from transportation and parks to overall vision for the county, similar to the prompts in the city of Dawsonville’s own comprehensive plan survey

DCN will continue to follow these infrastructure initiatives.