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Exits along Ga. 400 in Forsyth County may get facelift

FORSYTH COUNTY — Ga. 400 is undergoing a years-long widening effort, though some other visible changes could be coming much sooner.

At a work session Tuesday, Forsyth County commissioners voted 5-0 to direct staff and County Attorney Ken Jarrard to move forward with beautification projects for exits along the corridor. A public hearing on the matter is set for the commission’s meeting May 5.

Commissioner Cindy Jones Mills traced the effort back to the recent zoning for the Halcyon mixed-use development near Exit 12. She said she asked RocaPoint Partners, the developers, about “beautification along 400 and making our exit and on-ramps look as good as Alpharetta.”

The first two targets likely will be Exits 12 and 13, which will be models for others, and all projects will be the product of a partnership between the county and private businesses.  

“The scope of study we defined as Exit 12 to Exit 17,”said Mike McDonald, senior project manager with Wakefield Beasley and Associates. “What we were charged [by the county] to do was look at a prototype, test a couple of intersections and see what would happen.”

Two new interchanges at Ga. 400 and McGinnis Ferry Road and Hwy. 369 are currently under design, and are included in scope of the project.

McDonald showed several design ideas ranging from plantings to ornate sculptures.

No decision was made on what the projects would entail, though a monument featuring the county’s logo seemed popular.

As part of the partnership, the county likely would handle the monument or sculpture while the business partner on that exit handles other beautification efforts.

“Everything we do has to be approved by [the state Department of Transportation], every planting, every monument, anything we do, because it is GDOT’s road,” Mills said. “Everything you see up and down [Ga.] 400, they’ve approved.”

It is also possible overpasses could be included in the work.

The idea for exit beautification projects was initially discussed as one of several requests from the commission made to the local delegation prior to their current legislative session.