SOUTH FORSYTH -- Forsyth County residents had the opportunity Thursday to check out state and local plans for a new interchange at Ga. 400 and McGinnis Ferry Road.
At the meeting, representatives with the Georgia Department of Transportation and Forsyth County were on hand at the Lanier Technical College Forsyth Conference Center to answer questions and show current plans for the interchange and other projects.
“It’s been a long time coming, but we believe it to be an important project for the county and a regional project,” Forsyth County Engineering Director John Cunard said. “[McGinnis Ferry] runs the county line between Forsyth County and Fulton County, so it’s multi-jurisdictional project as well.”
According to documents handed out at the meeting, plans call for a “full-diamond interchange” between the two roads and would add northbound and southbound auxiliary lanes between current exits 11 and 12. Construction is slated to begin in early 2018.
The project will also replace the existing McGinnis Ferry Road bridge going over Ga. 400 and widen the road from Bethany Bend through the intersection of Union Hill Road onto Ronald Reagan Boulevard to Counselors Way. The total project will widen almost 5 miles of road.
Three plans for Tidwell Drive, which would run alongside the new on ramp, were also on display during the meeting.
“There are three different alternates with how Tidwell Road will intersect or not intersect with McGinnis Ferry Road with the project,” Cunard said. “Those three alternates were basically just presented to get public input, public feedback in assisting GDOT with making a decision on which alternative should be designed and constructed.”
The first plan would make Tidwell Drive a right-in and right-out turn only road, with changes made to the median on McGinnis Ferry to allow left turns from the other side of the road.
The other two plans are either building the road along McGinnis Ferry Road and making the entrance across from Deerfield Point Drive or making Tidwell Drive end in a cul-de-sac that would no longer have access to McGinnis Ferry Road.
During the meeting, attendees were invited to leave comments, which Cunard said will be used to guide the process.
“They’ll be used in the process to evaluate those alternatives and to consider any input from the public and incorporate it if at all possible into the design,” he said.
Ann Hanlon, who works in north Fulton and would be impacted by the plans, said she wasn’t yet sure which plan she preferred, but was generally supportive.
“It looks like it’s a good plan,” she said. “I was interested to see what the three different alternatives were and just to figure out what the steps forward are from here.”
Forsyth County resident Pat Spackman also said that the changes were a positive move for the county, though she wished it was coming sooner.
“Basically, I came to see how the roadway was going to be developed, because I have commercial property and I have a big interest in this,” Spackman said. “I think the information was good about the different alternatives and we get to put the input in. I just wish it was starting a little bit sooner.”
Other operational changes are also planned.
The plans are to be displayed at the Forsyth County Administration Building at the engineering department, and written statements can be submitted until Sept. 21 to Cunard. Comments can also be submitted online at www.dot.ga.gov/ps/public/publicoutreach.
Plans will also be available at the DOT district offices at 2505 Athens Hwy. in Gainesville and 5025 New Peachtree Road in Chamblee.