There was a full house on Tuesday night at Coal Mountain Elementary School’s cafeteria as nearby neighbors came to check out plans for a new widening project and interchange on Ga. 400 for Hwy. 369.
Forsyth County and Georgia Department of Transportation officials were on hand to talk about the project, walk attendees through the plans and hear their concerns.
“I thought it was fabulous turnout,” said District 4 Commissioners Cindy Mills. “I thought that there were some really good comments submitted by people. It’ll be interesting to see what GDOT will be able to do with the comments.”
The interchange will be a partial-cloverleaf that will replace the current intersection at the road.
The widening project will widen Hwy. 369 from just west of Dahlonega Highway (Hwy. 9 north) to just east of Keith Bridge Road (Hwy. 306), a distance of about 2 miles. The work will include four 12-foot-wide lanes, a 30-foot-long raised median, an eight-foot-wide sidewalk along the south side of the road and a five-foot-wide sidewalk on the northern side.
New traffic signals will also be added at the exit ramps, one of which will be across from the Walmart on Hwy. 369 and on the other side at Browns Bridge Church.
Both projects are funded through the Forsyth County Transportation Bond approved by voters in 2014.
Completion of right of way acquisition for the project and the awarding of the construction bid are both expected by the end of the year.
The project is set to be completed by spring 2023 and is expected to have a total cost of $58 million.
Temporary lane closures and several types of traffic control devices will be needed for the project.
One of the attendees to check out the plans was Phillip Tomes, who said he has lived in Forsyth County for 35 years and he and his family use the road every day.
“This is our main fairway to work, to church and back,” Tomes said. “It’ll definitely impact us, so I absolutely am 100% behind it because we need to do something with that [Ga.] 400 light. [The plan] keeps traffic flowing.”
While he had some concerns about traffic and road closures and would like to see the road widening extended further, a concern several others also voiced, Tomes said he was in favor of the project.
“My biggest concern was I just wanted to know the impact and how long, and [GDOT officials] said about three years, which hey, that’s Forsyth County. We’re moving, we’re growing, everybody knows that,” he said.
Mills said other concerns she heard from neighbors were about getting into and out of the Publix at Hammond’s Crossing but said she heard positive comments about not only the widening and interchange projects but also a new road project that will connect Bridgetowne Drive to Settingdown Road, which would go between the Forsyth County Public Safety Complex and Coal Mountain Park, and a new road from Settingdown to Coal Mountain Drive.
“I thought it was interesting that so many people that I talked with were as excited about the Coal Mountain Connector,” she said. “I kept hearing from person after person that they just think that’s going to alleviate a lot of congestion and solve a lot of the problems that are happening in that area by having a second way to enter the school.”
Written statements on the widening and interchange projects will be accepted by mail until Tuesday, Nov. 3 and can be sent to: Mrs. Denise Farr, Capital Improvements Program Project Manager, Forsyth County Engineering Department, 110 E. Main St., Suite 120, Cumming, Georgia 30040.
Information about the projects can also be found at the Forsyth County Engineering Department (110 E. Main St., Suite 120) or online at ForsythCo.com under the “Transportation Projects” banner on the homepage.