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Forsyth County applies for state funding for road widenings
WEB 369 at 400
Commissioners approved on a time-sensitive basis to submit three applications for additional funding through the Georgia Department of Transportations infrastructure bank for road widening projects on Brookwood Road, Pilgrim Mill Road and Browns Bridge Road (Hwy. 369), including its new interchange at Ga. 400. - photo by Jim Dean

Forsyth County took aim at several road projects this week as a continuing effort to address improving transportation infrastructure in the high growth area.

At the commission’s work session on Tuesday, board members heard an update on the ongoing comprehensive transportation plan being done by Jacobs Engineering, approved submitting applications to fund projects on three state routes and awarded bids for construction on several roads.

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“I actually use Forsyth County as an example”

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Tim Allen, assistant director of engineering for the county, said a county-wide transportation plan currently being updated will help commissioners make decisions for decades.

“Our last plan was adopted back in 2011, and this will update it and project it out 20 years to see what needs to be improved in this county over the next two decades,” Allen said.

Michael Kray, of Jacobs Engineering, said the first of three steps in the process will be an assessment of the current plan, and the second will be assessment of needs, which will involve a steering committee and be used for evaluations of strengths and weakness of local roads.

“This is a data-driven plan, and we’re going to go back out to the community and make sure we get their collaboration and their input to verify the things we are identifying are correct,” he said.

The third step will be the plan’s recommendations.

The update will also look at funding for projects. Kray said he often tells other municipalities to look at the funding sources used by Forsyth County, including the $200 million transportation bond approved by voters in 2014.

“There’s SPLOST, there’s bond programs and state and federal funds that are all being used,” Kray said. “It’s a great strategy; I actually use Forsyth County as an example to other people of how to get things done using the bond and the SPLOST program to leverage state and federal funds.”

No action was taken on the plan, which began in January and is expected to be complete by the end of the year. Commissioners now have two weeks to bring names for the steering committee.

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Funding applications for road widening projects

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Commissioners approved on a time-sensitive basis to submit three applications for additional funding through the Georgia Department of Transportation’s infrastructure bank for road widening projects on Brookwood Road, Pilgrim Mill Road and Browns Bridge Road (Hwy. 369), including its new interchange at Ga. 400.

“Back in January, the state road and tollway authority announced that they were opening application submittals for $15 million that they’re going to make available this year for assisting or completing transportation projects,” said John Cunard, the county’s director of engineering.

Cunard said applications cannot exceed $2 million and that $1.5 million was requested for each. He said it is likely that only one will be chosen, if any.

“We hope that one of these three applications can be very competitive and we’ll be receiving some grant funding, hopefully,” Cunard said.
The county received $1.2 million for the Union Hill Road widening projected last year.

Cunard said constriction on Pilgrim Mill and Brookwood roads is expected to start in June.

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Bids awarded for turn lanes

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Three bids were also awarded for constriction of turn lanes on county roads.

Commissioners first awarded a bid for left and right turn lanes on Dahlonega Highway (Hwy. 9) and Martin Road to CW Matthews Contracting for $1.1 million.

The project will go near Coal Mountain Elementary and North Forsyth middle and high schools.

Procurement Director Donna Kukarola said it is unlikely the project will be done ahead of the new school year this fall.

“The work is supposed to be completed by September 30,” she said.

Bids were also awarded for the construction of left turn lanes on Jot Em Down Road at Ga. 400 to Blount Construction for $415,972 and turn lanes on Keith Bridge Road (Hwy. 306) at Little Mill Road to Bartow Paving Company for $930,042.