Road construction continues in downtown area
With infrastructure needs and the Streetscapes project underway, many Dahlonega residents and tourists have noticed that there has been quite a bit of construction happening in the city recently.
City engineer Mark Buchanan, in an effort to limit headaches for locals and tourists alike, spoke to The Nugget recently about projects the city is working on currently and those which they plan on working on in the near future.
"Most of the big items you'll see coming up in the near future are all related to the Streetscapes project," said Buchanan.
Currently, city contractors are rebuilding the south side of West Main between the square and Church Street.
"There were several needs in this area and we've chosen to tackle them simultaneously," Buchanan said. "They include the final phase of some storm drain work that began in 2016, the construction of a new parking area that is compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), new curbs and gutters, a new set of stairs that will access a relocated crosswalk, some new retaining walls and preparation for the paving project coming this spring."
PEDESTRIAN FRIENDLY PLANS
At the same time as the work on West Main, the city will also be working to improve the corner of Chestatee Village.
"The corner at Chestatee Village is being widened and repaired," Buchanan said. "The brickwork had suffered a little over the past few years and with all the downtown work going on, it seemed like the right time to make the repair."
Buchanan stated that after work at the corner of Chestatee Village is completed, the city will start work on some issues with South Chestatee near the Thompson Circle intersection.
"The two-way left turn lane that runs from Schultz to the UNG entrance will be extended south to connect to the existing left turn lane onto Morrison Moore," Buchanan said. "This will require some amount of road widening and a relocation of the sidewalk."
After the work on South Chestatee is finished, the city will turn its focus on the square and East Main between the square and Grove Street. That area will receive treatment similar to the work being done on West Main; including, repair of damaged curbs, modification of some ADA ramps, various sidewalk repair and installation of underground utilities.
"Expect to see some minor modifications to pedestrian patterns, but nothing too drastic," Buchanan said. "This project is not intended to change the downtown we've all come to know and love, but simply to make needed repairs and give certain areas a more pedestrian-friendly feel."
Buchanan also mentioned that the curbed islands that were constructed at the east end of the square will be getting finishing touches installed which will consist of various forms of vegetation and possibly a monument to the old well that was requested in 1877 following a fire that damaged several downtown buildings.
The construction for this phase for the Streetscapes project was contracted out for just under $1 million, according to Buchanan.
The work won't stop there, however, as the city plans to add a new layer of asphalt and striping on both South Chestatee and Main Street after it completes the aforementioned work.
The Streetscape project is just part of what the city plans to work on in the coming months and years.
"There are always smaller projects that continue to move forward," Buchanan said. "One of these is the sidewalk that will be installed on Wimpy Mill Road running from North Grove Street to the Golden Hills apartments."
This work will be partially funded through an off-system safety local maintenance and improvement grant provided by the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT).
Other GDOT projects include the proposed addition of a new traffic signal at the Morrison Moore and Calhoun Drive intersection and a right turn lane for traffic going westbound on Morrison Moore that want to turn north onto South Chestatee.
Residents of Skyline Drive, Laurel Heights Drive and Kenimer Circle should expect a new layer of asphalt coming soon as well.
"This follows last summer's successful installation of new water mains and service lines," Buchanan said. "Additional paving is also expected to take place later in the summer on Happy Hollow Road."
Buchanan also mentioned that the city is working on some projects which may not be quite so obvious to passersby such as the renovation of the Wimpy Mill Sanitary Sewer Lift Station, the successful switch over of some downtown water service connections from an older water main replaced last year to the new main among others.
All of the construction projects will mean that city workers will be busy at work for quite some time to make Dahlonega's infrastructure one that will make the city a better place for years to come. Buchanan credited these workers for their tireless service to the community.
"Please keep all of our city workers and contractors in your thoughts as you're traversing the city," Buchanan said. "Day in and day out they perform some pretty demanding work in conditions that, particularly at this time of year, are less than ideal. They keep this up month after month and year after year with no expectation of recognition or special treatment. Please be mindful of their actions, as well as your own, in and around construction zones and help ensure they return safely to their families after each day's work."
For more information on current or upcoming construction projects for the city you can get a complete list of projects through the Downtown Development Authority's website, the City of Dahlonega website or through the city's Facebook page.