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Widening of Hwy. 20 long overdue
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Forsyth County News
Plans for widening Ga. High-way 20 between Forsyth County and Gwinnett County, including a badly needed new four-lane bridge over the Chattahoochee River, will be the topic of a public information meeting at the Sugar Hill City Hall this week.

Excuse the cliché, but it seems like we’ve been down this road before.

Some two decades ago, widening Hwy. 20 between the two counties was a priority for many of those involved at both the county and state level.

The bureaucratic process was under way and the possibility of a major multi-lane highway from Lawrenceville to Cumming was close to becoming possible, when the federal government stepped in with the Clean Air Act.

The environmental protection measure implemented by the federal government in 1990 prohibited metro areas like Atlanta, where air quality was a concern, from starting any road projects that would allow for increased capacity of vehicles.

The long awaited plans for Hwy. 20 were shelved.

Area officials argued passionately, but without success, that moving traffic was better for the air than was gridlocked traffic going nowhere.

Over the course of the past two decades, bits and pieces of Hwy. 20 have been expanded in both counties to allow for turn lanes and safer intersections, but the total project, long past due, has yet to be completed.

The proposed new bridge across the river is especially needed, as any motorist travelling between the two counties at peak traffic times can attest.

It is easy to imagine how much better the morning and afternoon commute for thousands of area residents might have been had the plans of 20 years ago found their way to fruition.

Ironically, the federal government now is pumping millions of dollars into Georgia road projects as a means of stimulating the economy. We can only wonder how much economic stimulus might have come our way had Hwy. 20 been widened when proposed years ago.

Hopefully, this time, there won’t be any unexpected detours.