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Widening worries residents
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Forsyth County News
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Plans for Mullinax and Union Hill roads can be reviewed on the Forsyth County Engineering Department page at Comments can be submitted by e-mail to Tim Allen at or by mail to Forsyth County Department of Engineering, 110 East Main St., Suite 120, Cumming, GA 30040. All comments will be accepted through March 25.
A projector in the center of the room showed green, yellow and red vehicles fighting through the 2032 morning rush hour.

Traffic volumes on Mullinax and Union Hill roads are projected to nearly double by then, to about 24,000 a day on one section and 14,800 on the other.

To handle such traffic, the county plans to widen the 2.7-mile stretch of the roads, from McFarland Parkway to Hwy. 9, to four lanes with a raised median and sidewalks.

The plan is to reduce the heavy traffic during peak times “rather than necking it down to one lane and letting the signal [at Hwy. 9] be the problem,” said Jeff Church, a representative for design firm Gresham Smith and Partners.

The 70 some people who came to Wednesday’s open house on the project know the widening is needed, though not all were pleased with it.

Henry Fisher owns a home at the end of a large curve on Mullinax.

His house sits atop a steep driveway close to the road. Fisher and his wife worry that the widening would shorten the driveway so much that a car won’t be able to make it up.

“While we recognize that the county has the need to improve,” he said, “it’s at the same time extremely important that the value and function of house[s] on the street are impacted as little as possible.”

He did see a positive improvement in reducing the curve, where he said there have been many wrecks over the years.

Flattening some turns on Mullinax also will allow the speed limit to increase from 35 to 45 mph, said Tim Allen, the county’s assistant director of engineering.

Allen said it’s common for people who have lived in an area a long time to want a different road widened, but he said there’s nowhere else to go.

The project will be funded by 1-cent sales tax money, though construction likely won’t begin until at least 2013.

The county holds open houses on proposed road widening projects to gather input from residents and address their concerns, Allen said.

Jeff Cahill was hoping for a change in the plan.

He drives dump trucks off Mullinax, and said a median in the middle would force trucks to make “dangerous” U-turns.

“I would like a crossover right in front of my driveway,” he said.

Co-worker Randy Sword was more optimistic.

“I think it’s great. I think it’ll beautify the area,” he said.

Jay Brophy, who lives on Mullinax near Hwy. 9, drives the road nearly every day.

“It’s a heavily traveled road, so it needs some improvement,” he said, adding that he felt the section of Hwy. 9 was in more dire need.

Representatives from the design firm faced many more residents upset about how the project would affect their homes.

“The blue lanes are the property line,” said Church, showing a woman how the proposed road path would affect the roadside residences.

“There goes half the front yard,” she said.

Barbara Cowart visited the open house on behalf of her parents, whose home was marked with a red dot.

The dot means the county likely will have to buy the house to make way for the road.

“I lived here when I was 16,” Cowart said, adding that her parents had been there for about 30 years.

While she said that the county would need to make its progress, she felt that her family deserved a little more notice during the design process.

Cowart said the one sign she saw announcing the open house posted at the end of the road wasn’t enough.