More than 100 people turned out for what the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) had billed as a Public Meeting on SR 316 at the Bogart Community Center on Thursday.
No seating was provided, and no one from GDOT gave a presentation, though a large number of representatives were present to answer questions.
After entering the Community Center, visitors were directed to view nine Display Boards spread around the room and a lengthy map of the roadway spread out on a table.
The first Display Board said that said GDOT was conducting a Planning Study of the SR 316 corridor.
Construction of new interchanges on SR 316 has been going on for years, and the Georgia Transportation Board on May 18 approved an agreement to move forward with three new multi-intersection bundles of projects, including one in Oconee County.
That first Design Board on Thursday said that the goal of the new study is to “identify and recommend potential improvements beyond those included” in the already identified and planned reconstruction projects.
“Once we build out all of these improvements in the plan, are there additional improvements that may be needed?” Jomar Pastorelle from the GDOT Office of Planning said in explaining the study goals.
Many of those present were interested in learning about GDOT plans for the nearby McNutt Creek Road, Dials Mill Road, and Dials Mill Extension interchanges, but none of the Display Boards dealt with those intersections specifically.
The meeting was scheduled to start at 4 p.m., but people crowded into the Community Center at least 15 minutes before that time.
|Unidentified Citizen Pointing To Dials Mill Road |
For GDOT Representative (Right)
By 5:15 p.m. the room was largely empty, however, except for 11 representatives of GDOT.
Participants were asked to give their comments at the final Display Board, and that opportunity continues through an online survey that will be available through June 16.
The survey asks respondents to rank five priorities for SR 316 improvements and to list any priority not on the original list.
The survey also asks which of four interchange types “concern you most and why?”
The types of interchanges listed were a full Interchange, a Grade Separation interchange (flyover), a Right-In, Right-Out interchange, and a Full Closure.
Finally, the survey asks “What additional/other transportation improvements would you recommend along this section of SR 316?”
On May 4 the county posted on its web site the announcement of what it called a “Georgia DOT Town Hall--316 Corridor Changes.”
At the State of the County address in March, Commission Chair Daniell said that GDOT is considering changes to its plans for the McNutt Creek Road intersection with SR 316, switching from a flyover to a full access multi-grade intersection.
At the same time, GDOT is re-evaluating, in response to citizen input, its proposed intersection designs for Dials Mill Road and Dials Mill Extension with SR 316, Daniell said.
Daniell said that a full interchange at McNutt Creek Road rather than the proposed flyover would better serve Bogart and provide access to the county’s Fire Station on McNutt Creek Road as well as newly planned Department of Driver Services and State Patrol offices on McNutt Creek Road south of SR 316.
The GDOT Planning Study Hub site prior to the Thursday meeting showed five Oconee County intersections to be included in a reassessment: Dials Mill Road and Dials Mill Extension, Jimmy Daniell Road, Virgil Langford Road, the Oconee Connector, and Julian Drive.
It did not list the McNutt Creek Road intersection.
None of those reassessments was included in the meeting on Thursday night.
On May 18, the state Transportation Board approved a Joint Resolution with the State Road and Tollway Authority for construction of three bundles of road projects along SR 316, including the Oconee County interchanges at Jimmy Daniell Road, Virgil Langford Road, and the Oconee Connector.
The video below consists of clips to show the Display Boards at the meeting on Thursday.