Some feel transportation is one of Forsyth County’s biggest frustrations, and county officials hosted an early morning meeting this week to discuss future plans to tackle the issue.
On Thursday morning, the Forsyth County Transportation Committee met to discuss several topics relating to local roadways.
District 4 Commissioner Cindy Jones Mills, a member of the committee, said one issue she sees with the county’s current plans: no new roads are being proposed; instead, there’s focus on widening existing ones.
“Our roads we’ve got are pretty darn clogged and we can widen them or add intersections,” she said.
There were also discussions on future plans to widen Canton Highway (Hwy. 20) and the expected traffic impact in downtown Cumming.
“Cumming needs a bypass, with trucks and everything,” Mills said. “I think if we know of a better bypass, we need to be speaking up.”
Members also discussed the impact the proposed city of Sharon Springs would have to county roads. County Attorney Ken Jarrard said state law requires new municipalities to take over the roads in their footprint.
“Unless we come up with an agreement with the new city, the expectation by the [state] general assembly is that that new city will, in fact, assume the ownership and maintenance responsibilities of, candidly, a lot of formerly county right of way. Not only a lot but some of our most-traveled, densely-populated corridors,” he said.
Jarrard said the impact of the potential city — which will need to be approved by the assembly, signed by the governor and approved by voters living in the area — should be noted in future plans, and there appears to be an expectation the county will take over the roads, which he said was “assuming a whole lot.”
There was also discussion on what the best source of funding would be for future projects.
In recent weeks, the county has held public meetings to discuss the plan with the community, though several members commented the meetings had been poorly attended and recommended extending the timeframe of an online survey with the information.
The survey and information are available online at ForsythTransportationPlan.com
Also, during the meeting, a sheet was passed out detailing several county projects, including many that have been completed.
One of the biggest projects — the widening of Ga. 400’s southbound lanes — is expected to be completed by October 2018, and projects on Brookwood, Union Hill and Old Atlanta roads are expected to be done in 2018.
Widenings for Bethelview and Sharon roads are expected to be finished by 2019, and passing lanes on Hwy. 369 are set to be completed by February 2020.
According to the handout, intersection improvements should be completed by the end of the year at: Matt Highway (Hwy. 369 west) and Mount Tabor and Old Federal Road and another intersection with Pooles Mills Road; Keith Bridge Road (Hwy. 306 east) at Little Mille Road; Ga. 400 and Jot Em Down; Hwy. 53 at Dogwood Road; and Holbrook Road at Burnt Bridge Road.
Improvements on intersections at Dahlonega Highway at Smith Lane and Coal Mountain Drive, Browns Bridge Road (Hwy. 369 west) at Little Mill Road, John Burruss Road at Karr Road, Bannister Road at Elmo Road and Settingdown Road at Martin Road are expected to be complete next year.
Projects are paid for by transportation bond and SPLOST funds.
Each year the county hosts a transportation summit to discuss completed and upcoming projects, and the committee discussed plans for this year’s meeting. The summit is planned for Feb. 21 and Georgia Department of Transpiration Commissioner Russell McMurray is expected to attend.