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Roadwork scheduled to begin this morning at Hwy. 141 and Bagley Road is more than a temporary nuisance to motorists.
It’s a reminder the construction that began in October 2006 along the rapidly developing corridor will not be finished on time.
Teri Pope, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Transportation, said the $50 million widening project is “way behind schedule" toward its projected July 31 completion. In fact, it's just 62 percent complete.
To students at South Forsyth High School, as well as shoppers at The Avenue Forsyth and other nearby businesses, that means more months of orange barrels, construction signs and congestion.
Pope attributed the delay to two factors.
First, consultant HDR closed its road design office in Atlanta, bringing in designers from the company's Philadelphia office to complete the plans. Secondly, revisions needed to be handled in-house by department staff.
“It had to be worked into their projects they were already working on, so it took longer than we planned for and delayed the start of construction,” she said.
Pope said a holdup in moving utility poles also played a role in the delay. Regardless of the reasons, the bottom line is the department is “currently negotiating with the contractor for a time extension on this project.”
There’s no telling how long the full widening project will take, Pope said. But construction along Bagley is expected to last no more than a month.
In the meantime, signs will mark the detour, which takes motorists from Hwy. 141 to Mathis Airport Road to Bagley Road.
Johns Creek resident Michael Jay takes Hwy. 141 to his job at Red Robin restaurant, which he manages. The traffic doesn’t flow smoothly the entire commute, but Jay is grateful for what's been accomplished.
He's particularly pleased with the work in front of The Avenue, where the restaurant is located, though he knows much work remains.
“Until it’s done, it’s going to be chaotic between Ronald Reagan all the way down to Johns Creek,” said Jay, adding school start and end times are especially frustrating.
“If people were a little bit more accommodating to others -- as one car goes, one car pulls out kind of deal -- it would be a lot easier. But everybody’s kind of one for all, all for one.”
While construction is delayed, Jay is hopeful when they “get the rest of it done, it should be a quick shot. No problem.”
The current project will raise Bagley Road by 5 feet, so it will be at the same level as the newly widened Hwy. 141. Grading will affect the first 25 to 30 feet of Bagley from Hwy 141.
While construction continues along other sections of Hwy. 141, Pope said the grading project must be finished before crews can move onto the next segment.
“It’s a very linear process,” she said. “You really can’t get ahead of things.”
As the project continues, Pope said similar adjustments will be made at Bagley Drive and Brookwood Road, where they join Hwy. 141.
“It really will improve the site distance, so when you’re on Bagley Road it makes it easier to see traffic on Hwy. 141, so you can make a wiser decision about when to enter Hwy. 141,” Pope said.
“It’s a common thing here when you’re widening a roadway, especially up here in the hills and mountains, trying to get things flat and straight so that people can see as far as possible.”