Mars Hill Widening Impacts Homeowners

Teri Pope of the Georgia Department of Transportation couldn’t have been more upfront about the widening of Mars Hill Road.

We are going to be in your way

…the GDOT Northeast Georgia communications officer said at a public forum Monday night at the Oconee County Civic Center.

But we do want to minimize that.

Chris Fowler, project manager of the chosen contractor, G.P.’s Enterprises of Auburn, Georgia, shared an old adage passed down from his grandmother:

You can’t bake a cake without breaking a few eggs.  But if your mother has to go to doctor or if you have any kind of medical care, we’ll try to accommodate you any way we can,”

…he assured a room of more than 100 people, most of whom were homeowners affected by the 3.3-mile, $26.3 million project whose completion date is March 31, 2018.

Workers established a construction headquarters last month on the site of the razed Golden Pantry and began clearing land where motorists have noticed flags. Eventually, Oconee Connector near Ga. State Route 316 will be seven-lanes wide.

Construction on replacing the bridge over Barber Creek will be done two lanes at a time.

The roadway to Hog Mountain Road will consist of four 12-foot-wide lanes separated by a 20-foot-wide grassy median. Bike trails and sidewalks in each direction will line the full route as well.

Why are we doing sidewalks?

someone asked rhetorically, pointing out that families surrounding Oconee Primary, Elementary and Middle schools typically do not let their children walk to school.


Pope noted that sidewalks are required with every road paid for with federal funds and whose speed limit is 45 miles per hour or less.

Another individual asked how mailboxes will be affected. Workers will relocate them for you, responded Pope.

Fowler mollified concerns from residents whose property abuts the road. Although the attained easements (119 parcels were purchased for $9 million) authorize workers to obstruct private driveways, temporary travel lanes will be constructed for areas with no easy access to a detour.

Those temporary thoroughfares will likely be gravel, said G.P. Enterprises representatives.

Fowler gave out his cell-phone number, (770) 560-9874, along with the phone number for

G.P.’s Enterprises Vice President Tim Phillips, (770) 570-2930. He encouraged homeowners to contact him and Phillips if they have concerns or questions. Pope said people can sign up for email updates by contacting her at