A proposed change from a consultant firm to turn Ga. 400 into an interstate highway designation could be a tall order.
At a meeting of the Forsyth County Transportation Committee on Thursday afternoon, members discussed the feasibility of making the change and what the process would be to make it happen.
Assistant County Manager Garrin Coleman said after talking with Georgia Department of Transportation officials, the change was not currently in their plans.
“You have to check some boxes initially. It helps if you have connectivity to another state, which 400 does not, connectivity to an interstate, which it does – it connects to 285, so that is a positive,” Coleman said. “And it goes back to what was the original intent.”
Coleman said the road does have a highway designation, U.S. 19, from Exit 4 to Dahlonega.
To move forward, it needs to meet requirements and be approved by GDOT, approved by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials and approved by the Federal Highway Administration before going to Congress and requiring an official act.
Members of the committee, which is comprised of Coleman and four county commissioners, expressed concerns with adding another layer of government oversight for the road and the viability of the project.
“It could be that GDOT would laugh at us for pursuing,” said District 4 Commissioner Cindy Jones Mills, “because as far as being able to widen and do things in the future…”
“… We put handcuffs on ourselves,” Commission Chairman Todd Levent said.
Forsyth County officials would also need to work with representatives from other cities and counties along the road.
The proposal came from an economic development update with the Cumming-Forsyth County Chamber of Commerce and done by Austin-based TIP Strategies.
“When a company contacts the chamber to consider bringing a new company to town, there’s a checklist and the checklist says, ‘Do you have connectivity to an interstate in your community,’” said County Manager Eric Johnson. “The answer today is no, so we may, in some cases, be off the list for further consideration.”