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Forsyth hits bump in road for McGinnis Ferry widening
McGinnis Ferry

It seems Forsyth County and the neighboring city of Alpharetta do not see eye to eye on the widening of a common boundary.

At a recent work session, Forsyth County commissioners and County Attorney Ken Jarrard discussed a recent letter from Alpharetta discussing funds and plans for the widening of McGinnis Ferry Road, which is the southern border of Forsyth County with Fulton. Jarrard said there was still work to do on the agreement.

“To me, the absolute key that needs to be addressed here is … how much financial assistance are we supposed to get, and this contract doesn’t answer that for me,” he said.

One issue was the city agreeing to pay up to $400,000 for the widening, which Jarrard said he would like to see a more definite amount.

“I’ll tell you that my daughter’s allowance is up to $400,000, which means it is zero,” he said. “I would typically like there to be more formality.”

Another issue was language detailing the city approving design and engineering plans, which Jarrard took to mean that Alpharetta would have final approval.

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.

An agreement is required for Forsyth to work on the other side of McGinnis Ferry, and the letter said Forsyth would be able to purchase but not condemn property in Alpharetta.

Per a previous agreement, the city of Johns Creek will handle land acquisition in its jurisdiction.

The current estimate for the widening project is about $46 million. Commission Chairman Todd Levent said the county had committed about $18 million to the project.

“We had no agreement [with Alpharetta] until they wrote us the letter – it was about a year ago – stating that they appropriated $400,000 toward the design,” Jarrard said. “Of course, that doesn’t commit to any right of way or construction.”

County Engineering Director John Cunard said Alpharetta's share of the design costs is more than the proposed $400,000.

“The design is $2 million. Our agreement with Johns Creek is almost 25 percent, which is $494,000,” Cunard said. “I would say their pro-rata share is closer to $500,000.”

Levent said he wanted to send a copy of the letter to the Georgia Department of Transportation to show “there’s still games being played.”

Forsyth County is overseeing the project's’ design with GDOT, and the cities of Johns Creek and Alpharetta will handle plan review and comments. County funds will come from the $200 million transportation bond approved by voters in 2014 and SPLOST VII funds. GDOT will contribute $10 million.