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Nighthawks Way, formerly Loop Road, opens

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University of North Georgia officially opened its new road, Nighthawks Way, at 9 a.m. Monday, Oct. 8, on the Gainesville Campus. The paved pathway provides students, faculty and staff an alternate route onto and off of the campus. As UNG staffer Chris Boring removes the orange and white barrel, a motorist takes advantage of the right-in and right-out intersection with Mundy Mill Road.

University of North Georgia (UNG) students have one more way to access the Gainesville Campus as of Oct. 8.

Loop Road, now renamed Nighthawks Way, opened at 9 a.m. Monday, nearly three months ahead of schedule. The project started in May and was scheduled to be complete by January 2019.

The right-in and right-out street is located 300 yards north of the main entrance, which is the intersection of Mundy Mill Road and Mathis Drive. It is a similar entrance-exit design as the entrance north of the Thurmon Tanner Parkway and Mundy Mill Road intersection.

"Nighthawks Way will create better traffic flow on campus by providing additional egress off campus," said Bill Moody, director of facilities and operations for UNG's Cumming, Gainesville and Oconee campuses. "This will mean less traffic on Mathis Drive and make it safer for motorists and pedestrians."

The new road connects Mundy Mill Road to Facilities Drive, cutting a paved path with sidewalks between the outdoor track and the tennis courts. It also splits UNG's property between the outdoor amphitheater and the Hugh Mills Physical Education Complex and Martha T. Nesbitt building.

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Nighthawks Way is a right-in, right-out intersection with Mundy Mill Road. It cuts a paved path with sidewalks between the outdoor tract and tennis courts behind Hugh Mills Physical Complex and Martha T. Nesbitt building.

Students can still access the track and amphitheater by using the new walkways and crosswalks in the area. Pedestrians do have the right of way, so motorists will need to be vigilant while driving the posted speed limit of 20 mph.

UNG also has started alerting drivers to the new road's opening with a large digital sign on the east side of campus.

Moody said traffic flow and student safety necessitated a new road on campus. Its location will benefit students, faculty and staff who use the parking deck and lots adjacent to the Nesbitt building.

"All of the people in the parking deck and behind it will have an option to go a different direction on and off campus," Moody said. "It also will help future development and help the campus grow."

The Gainesville Campus is expected to grow physically starting next year. The Lanier Technical College campus, which is located on the east side of the campus, will vacate the buildings once its new campus opens. UNG then will start its renovation project, Moody said.

"The design and construction project begin in 2019," Moody said.

The University System of Georgia (USG) Board of Regents recommended $13.6 million in state funding for UNG to begin renovations on the former Lanier Tech campus space.

Before that happens, Lanier Tech students will have the benefit of using Nighthawks Way as a way off campus.

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