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Next round of meetings set on Hwy. 20 widening

DOT to gather more input next month

POSTED: December 2, 2013 12:30 a.m.

The state Department of Transportation is holding two meetings next month on plans to widen Hwy. 20 between Canton and Cumming.

The first open house will be held Dec. 10 at Calvary Baptist Church in Ball Ground and the second on Dec. 12 at Otwell Middle School in Cumming.

Once envisioned as three separate road projects, the department has decided to take on the 24-mile stretch of highway as one large undertaking. Provided funding is secured, right of way acquisition could begin in 2019 and roadwork finish by 2022.

The process, which requires an environmental impact statement, began in May with two public meetings to gather improvement suggestions from those who live along the corridor or are frequent travelers. More than 360 people attended, submitting some 210 suggestions and comments.

In the months that followed, the department used a MetroQuest survey to gather feedback. Nearly 850 people visited the website, with more than 520 written comments and map-based input.

“Any plan will be developed for [Hwy.] 20 will come from and be vetted through community input,” said Teri Pope, a department spokeswoman.

“We have and will continue to ask people who live, work and travel along [Hwy] 20 for their input on how to improve this important road.”

She added that the meetings next month will “continue the conversation” started in the spring. Though there will be no formal presentation, preliminary alternatives will be shared for public input.

“These meetings continue to gather information from the people who use 20 every day,” Pope said. “We are putting that data with traffic counts, crash data and engineering standards to refine options for the corridor. Each round of meetings and the input we receive takes a step forward.”

More than 45 percent of the corridor has what Pope called an “unacceptable level of congestion,” and more than 40 of the 126 intersections have a failing level of service. That rate will increase to 90 percent by 2040.


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