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Ready for widening
Project close to beginning
Buford Dam Widens 1 es
A truck travels over Ga. 400 on Budord Dam Road, which is being widened from Hwy. 9 to Sanders Road. - photo by Emily Furtsch
This could be the month Buford Dam Road travelers have been awaiting.

If all goes well during a meeting Tuesday, construction can begin this month to widen about 1.38 miles of Buford Dam Road to four lanes with sidewalks from Hwy. 9 to Sanders Road.

“We have a pre-construction meeting Tuesday,” said Steve Bennett, Cumming assistant city administrator. “We’ll sit with the contractor and all utilities and start trying to schedule who’s going to be doing what, when.”

Cumming Mayor H. Ford Gravitt said he hopes to issue the notice to proceed with the long-awaited project during the meeting.

“We’re going to hopefully nail all this down early next week,” he said. “It’s been a heavily traveled road for many years and we’ve had a lot of accidents on the road over a period of time.”

The retail development of Market Place Boulevard near Buford Dam has intensified traffic in recent years, Gravitt said.

During a recent city council meeting, C.W. Matthews was selected to handle construction.

Gravitt expressed some displeasure with delays on previous construction projects the company has handled. But its $3.95 million bid was at least $50,000 lower than the other 10 bidders.

Bennett said about 22 parcels will be impacted by the project, some for easements and others acquired for right of way. In total, the city paid about $35,000 for those parcels.

Between right of way, construction costs and unforeseen additions, Bennett said he expects the project’s price tag to be closer to $4.3 million.

The state’s Department of Transportation will cover nearly $1.8 million of the cost, Bennett said.

The city’s portion of the money will come from the last 1-cent Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax, or SPLOST V.

“It’s just taken us this long to get any help from the state,” he said. “It’s been worth the wait ... we had to have help in order to make it go.”

Gravitt said the city will be monitoring areas of concern like the bridge over Ga. 400 and the Buford Dam Road-Hwy. 9 crossing.

“We’re going to be discussing all these issues, how to minimize the traffic on Buford Dam Road during construction of this road and the least way to inconvenience everybody,” Gravitt said. “We think it’s about time to try to get this road done.

“We’ve been working on it a long time and we think it’s very much needed. It’s going to help traffic tremendously.”