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Transportation Committee talks bridge standards
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Bridges over Ga. 400 could soon have a new standard design, with special considerations for the first bridges drivers see coming into the county.

The Forsyth County Transportation Committee met on Wednesday to discuss the bridges and other transportation projects. No action was taken at the meeting.

The committee, made up of all five Forsyth County commissioners, Assistant County Manager Garrin Coleman and Director of Engineering John Cunard were shown several bridge and fencing options around metro Atlanta.

For the bridges, county officials favored more impressive bridges for the “bookends” of McGinnis Ferry Road and Browns Bridge Road, Hwy. 369, which are slated to be the northernmost and southernmost interchanges on 400, and a standardized design for the other bridges.

“The upgrades of 369 and McGinnis Ferry, those two would match highly, then everything else would match the … little bit less costly standard,” said District 1 Commissioner Pete Amos said.

For the bookend bridges, Coleman was advised to bring back information on the cost of block work across the length of the bridge, including columns, bulb-outs – areas for additional future pedestrian walkways and scale lighting – concrete pickets, black fencing and possible center sections for a medallion sign that would welcome drivers to the county.

Both projects are currently in the design phase and will likely have a cost share with the Georgia Department of Transportation.

The committee also directed Coleman to bring back pricing and other information from developer Vertical Earth on options for the Pilgrim Mill Road bridge, the first to be replaced during a widening project, with an aim of having future replacements follow that design.

“We’re trying to build some standards hopefully here,” said District 5 Commissioner Laura Semanson.

Coleman will bring back information on block work, black chain fencing and additions and block work on each side, along with information on how much those improvements will cost above current plans and how much they will delay the project.

Included in those bridges will be a new interchange at Union Hill Road as part of a project to add two express lanes on each side of the road from the North Springs Marta Station in Sandy Springs to McGinnis Ferry and one express lane in each direction from McGinnis Ferry to McFarland Parkway.

Express lanes are optional toll lanes along existing lanes aimed at allowing drivers to bypass congestion, and the project is one of 11 Major Mobility Investment Program projects across the state.