Work is progressing with the widening of Buford Highway (Hwy. 20 east), but it will be almost two years before work is done in Forsyth County.
A widening project from Samples Road to James Burgess Road is expected to take until May 2019, but a portion of the project involving the addition of new bridges over Lake Lanier should be completed much sooner.
“Work is complete with the exception of final touches on the stream bank, the parking area, a portion of the sidewalk from the parking area and down to the trail and we are working with the National Park Service to get these completed,” said Katie Strickland, a spokeswoman for the Georgia Department of Transportation.
Strickland said a final inspection for that portion of the project will be scheduled soon and cones will be removed up to Ruth Lane.
Both projects are part of a years-long plan to widen Hwy. 20 about 7.5 miles from Samples Road in Cumming across the river to Peachtree Industrial Boulevard in Gwinnett. Once completed, the highway will be four lanes, two on each side.
The work has been broken down into three sections: the Chattahoochee River bridges; Samples Road to James Burgess Road; and work in Gwinnett County.
C.W. Matthews Contracting of Marietta is handling all three projects for a total of $62.7 million. Right of way acquisition for the total expanse cost $80.9 million.
Buford Highway is not the only portion of the state highway to be widened.
A project to expand Canton Highway (Hwy. 20 west) from I-575 in Canton to Ga. 400 in Cumming is currently in the planning phase.
Among the largest of the proposed changes are the widening of the road to six lanes, the re-routing of certain roads and the removal of many left turns in favor of R-cuts, which officials said are safer than the alternative.
An R-cut, also called a Michigan left, is a design requiring going straight or making right turns at intersections, meaning any traffic must turn right onto or off the highway and go to U-turns to turn left.
In December, surveyors were still working, and right of way purchase should begin in 2017. The project will be bid out in portions in 2018 and 2019.
Previously, officials have said construction could start in 2022, with designs targeting growth projections for 2045.