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Forsyth government to send letter to Alpharetta over McGinnis Ferry widening
Forsyth County asking for more contribution from neighbor
Forsyth County

Forsyth County commissioners have sent a new agreement to a neighboring city for a plan to widen a common road.

Recently, the Board of Commissioners voted unanimously to approve a new intergovernmental agreement with the city of Alpharetta over the widening of McGinnis Ferry Road, which serves as boundary between Forsyth County and Fulton County.

Previously, Alpharetta sent Forsyth a deal agreeing to pay up to $400,000 for the widening design and engineering.

“The first time we talked about this intergovernmental agreement, it said [Alpharetta] will agree to commit up to $400,000, and I just don’t think it was as solid as the county wanted it,” County Attorney Ken Jarrard said. “This is a much more ambitious intergovernmental agreement, but it actually advances the project.”

Under the plan, Alpharetta would contribute 25 percent of funds for design and engineering costs up to a cap of $500,000 and 25 percent of construction and utility relocation costs, which Jarrard said could be as much as $8 million.

The total cost of the widening project is about $46 million. Forsyth has an agreement with the city of Johns Creek to pay 25 percent of design and engineering, and the city will handle land acquisition in its jurisdiction.

Forsyth County is overseeing the project’s design with the Georgia Department of Transportation. County funds will come from the $200 million transportation bond approved by voters in 2014 and SPLOST VII funds. GDOT will contribute $10 million.

The proposal would widen about 4.5 miles of the road between Sargent Road and the intersection of Ronald Reagan Boulevard and Union Hill Road and calls for two lanes in each direction with a 10-foot wide multi-use path on the north side of the road and a 5-foot-wide sidewalk along the south.

If Alpharetta approves the plan, the agreement states it will acquire and provide right of way and easements within the city for Forsyth.

Forsyth will manage design, engineering, utility relocations and construction for the project, will furnish Alpharetta all documentation, and Alpharetta will have the opportunity to participate in and give input in meetings for the project. 

When asked by commissioners, Jarrard said he did not believe Alpharetta officials knew they would be getting the letter.

“The problem is this is a regional project that helps the state,” Chairman Todd Levent said. “This project affects people from Gwinnett County, it affects people in the city of Alpharetta sitting in traffic, it affects people from Johns Creek sitting in traffic and it affects the citizens of Forsyth County and Cherokee that want to cross that corridor.”

Levent said Alpharetta Mayor David Belle Isle, who is running for secretary of state, has been an “obstructionist” to protect a regional mall project.

“I’m hoping now that the mayor realizes he is running for state office and it’s not just him being mayor trying to protect his little world that he’ll understand that his negative effect on all these people may want to motivate him to be reasonable and get this agreement moving forward,” Levent said.

The agreement also details a plan for a proposed new cloverleaf Ga. 400 interchange at McGinnis Ferry, which would allow the county to acquire land in Alpharetta including using eminent domain.

The total project is slated for 4.98 miles – 3.28 miles on Ga. 400 and 1.7 on McGinnis, as well as other roadside improvements.

The project will replace a bridge over Ga. 400 and widen McGinnis Ferry Road from Bethany Bend to the intersection of Union Hill Road onto Ronald Reagan Boulevard to Counselors Way.

Ga. 400 southbound is also getting an additional lane for about 5,400 feet total north and south of McFarland Parkway/Exit 12.