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Ga. 400 to open first Forsyth expansion Oct. 5
8-mile northbound stretch includes Big Creek bridge
On Wednesday Oct. 5, eight miles of the northbound lane from McFarland Parkway (Exit 12) to just north of Hwy. 20 (Exit 14) will open after a ribbon cutting event that morning. - photo by For the Forsyth County News

A time line of Ga. 400, from its inception to future projects

1954: Planning begins for the road (Forsyth County population 11,000)

1971: Ga. 400 is dedicated (county pop. 16,928)

1976-77: Portions of “Smokey and the Bandit” are filmed along Ga. 400 between Exits 12 and 14

March ’79: Construction begins in Forsyth County near the Fulton County line

1981: Ga. 400 is completed from I-285 to Hwy. 60 near Dahlonega. (Forsyth pop. 27,958)

1993: A portion of the commute from I-85 to I-285 opens as a toll road

2013: The last road toll is collected by Gov. Nathan Deal (2010 pop. 175,511)

Nov. 2014: Voters approve a $200 million transportation bond to address local traffic concerns, with the widening of Ga. 400 to three lanes each way in Forsyth County being the cornerstone project

April 2015: Officials announce the widening will stretch to Hwy. 369 in north Forsyth

Nov. 2015: Construction begins on northbound lanes of Ga. 400. (pop. 212,438)

Oct. 5, 2016: Scheduled opening for the first 8-mile northbound stretch

March 2017: Expected completion to Bald Ridge Marina Road (Exit 15)

Spring 2017: All northbound work should be done

Mid-2018: Tentative completion of southbound work

* Source of future dates and photo: Georgia Department of Transportation

SOUTH FORSYTH -- Nearly two years after Forsyth County voters approved a $200 million transportation bond to help deal with traffic issues, part of a new lane of Ga. 400 will open next week.

On Wednesday Oct. 5, eight miles of the northbound lane from McFarland Parkway (Exit 12) to just north of Hwy. 20 (Exit 14) will open after a ribbon cutting event that morning.

“Less than two years ago, voters approved the Forsyth County Transportation Bond. Just 11 months ago, we broke ground on the widening of State Route 400, one of the most anticipated projects to be funded by the bond, and now we are preparing to open the first segment of the widened roadway,” said Commission Chair Pete Amos in a news release. “The widening of State Route 400 is a tremendously important project for our county, and our citizens are to be commended for making it happen.”

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.

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.

“The results on this project are an example of what can be accomplished by working together,” said Rudy Bowen, with GDOT, in the release. “Our leaders at the Georgia DOT and the Forsyth County commissioners have done a phenomenal job getting the project delivered to the public in less than a year.

“It was a brave decision for Forsyth leadership and its citizens to take on the responsibility of investing in transportation.”

Following the ceremonial ribbon cutting on Oct. 5, local and state officials and business and community stakeholders will continue to discuss the county’s transportation needs at the annual Forsyth County Transportation Summit.

At the summit, which will be held at the Lanier Technical College Forsyth Conference Center at 11:30 a.m., speakers will give updates on transportation projects at both state and local levels.

For more information on the summit or to register, contact the Cumming-Forsyth County Chamber of Commerce at or at (770) 887-6461.