Sunday, March 23, 2014

Whitehall Road Closure In 2015 Will Require Simonton Bridge Road Detour

Three Months

Athens-Clarke County plans to close Whitehall Road between the Middle Oconee River and Milledge Avenue for three to four months in the summer of 2015, altering the flow of traffic into and out of Oconee County via Simonton Bridge Road.

Simonton Bridge At Main Street

Traffic probably will be rerouted along U.S. 441 and Old Macon Highway to Milledge Avenue.

Emil Beshara, head of the Oconee County Public Works Department, said he has exchanged messages with David Clark, his counterpart in Athens-Clarke County, about the road closing.

“The impact on Oconee County will likely mostly center on drastically increased volume on Old Macon Highway,” Beshara said. “It is unavoidable and temporary, so I don't think it's going to be a big deal.”

On Consent Agenda

The Athens-Clarke County Mayor and Commission gave tentative approval to the roadway improvement at its agenda-setting meeting on Thursday night.

The item, called the South Milledge Avenue at Whitehall Road Intersection Improvement Project, will be on the agenda for final approval on April 1.

The $690,000 project is being paid for by Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax revenue.

The project is expected to be let for construction in the spring of 2015 and should be completed before August of 2015.

Lowering Of Road

The construction will lower the centerline grade of Whitehall Road by approximately five feet at the intersection to improve sight distance at the intersection.

The section of Whitehall Road between South Milledge Avenue and the Middle Oconee River will be closed during the duration of the project.

Alan Reddish, manager for Athens-Clarke County, told the commissioners on Thursday night that detour plans had not been finalized but “there are not a lot of good options.”

The project is the first phase of a two-phase project. The second phase is to include a roundabout at the intersection.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Mr. Beshara says this closure will not be "a big deal." Clearly, he is not a resident of Simonton Bridge Road. For people who live in the area near the Clarke County line, this suggested detour represents a very significant and lengthy detour. Many of the residents in this area chose our location because we have frequent need to access either Milledge Ave. or the east side of Athens.

I challenge anyone who thinks it's "not a big deal" to drive out to Britain Estates and then try to drive to the Botanical Gardens or the new under-construction vet school on the eastside WITHOUT going through that intersection. Please consider a detour for residents of the area. Also, since the closure will be so disruptive, combine phase one and two into a one-time project. Thank you.