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First Forsyth County Ga. 400 expansion opens
web 400 ribbon cut JD
Local and state officials were on hand at the GRTA Park and Ride Lot for a ribbon cutting ceremony for the new lane on Ga. 400. - photo by Jim Dean Forsyth County News

FORSYTH COUNTY – The first section of a new lane of Ga. 400 northbound is officially open to drivers.

On Wednesday morning, local and state officials were on hand at the GRTA Park and Ride Lot for a ribbon cutting ceremony for the new lane, which runs about from McFarland Parkway (Exit 12) to just north of Hwy. 20 (Exit 14).

The expansion was approved by Forsyth County voters in November 2014 as part of a $200 million traffic bond.

“Today we receive the results of the decision of Forsyth County citizens to invest in transportation,” said Rudy Bowen, of the State Transportation Board representing the 7th Congressional District. “I think we will all agree it was a very, very smart decision. It’s an important partnership that will continue to serve the citizens and help the encouragement of economic growth in this community.”

Construction on the 13.4-mile stretch began in November 2015, one year after funding for the project and an array of other widening and improvement projects was approved by voters in an infrastructure bond referendum.

Work was completed on the stretch in less than a year – an altered schedule had crews working extended hours and while traffic was heavy on the southbound route to expedite the widening.

The project is a joint venture of Forsyth County and the Georgia Department of Transportation, or GDOT.

The $47 million — $34 million provided by the 2014 bond and $13 million by state funds — project will create an additional lane on both sides of Ga. 400 from McFarland Parkway to Browns Bridge Road (Hwy. 369), which will become Exit 18.

“We’re going up to Hwy. 20 and we’re going to continue up the northbound lane to [Hwy. 369] with a future opening and bridge implementation,” said Forsyth County Chairman Pete Amos. “We’re going to start working on the southbound lane on [Hwy.] 369 back to McFarland.”

Widening the road also includes widening bridges at Big Creek and Lake Lanier/Sawnee Creek.

The state department is managing the project — the northbound lane has a tentative completion date of spring 2017, with work on the additional southbound lane slated to begin after for an expected completion of mid-2018.