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Projects would help traffic flow
Wish list submitted, waiting begins
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Forsyth County News


Cumming and Forsyth County are waiting to hear which of their proposed road projects might be included in a 2012 referendum on a 1-cent sales tax for transportation.

Last week, they and the other governments that make up the 13-county Georgia Mountains Regional Commission submitted a wish list of projects.

The commission has until April 13 to condense the project list and submit it to the state Department of Transportation.

If approved by voters, the tax is projected to yield nearly $1 billion over 10 years in the Georgia Mountains district. About 75 percent of that would go toward regional projects and 25 percent to local efforts.

Commission Chairman Brian Tam said Forsyth County decided to submit all 51 of its qualifying projects to “show that we’ve done our due diligence.”

“We’ve been working with our engineering department and determining which projects would qualify,” Tam said. “We have some definite transportation needs.”

The county's list includes the widening of Bethelview Road from Castleberry Road to Hwy. 20, and adding lanes to Ga. 400, both from McFarland Parkway to Hwy. 20 and from Hwy 20 to Hwy. 306.

There are 37 widening projects on the county’s list, including several along Hwys. 9, 306 and 369, as well as Union Hill.

There are also four proposed intersection improvements, including one at Ga. 400 and Jot Em Down Road.

The other three are on Hwy. 369, where it crosses Mount Tabor, Old Federal and Pooles Mill roads.

The county has also proposed 10 pedestrian/bike projects, including several greenway and sidewalk efforts.

Tam said the city and county have communicated on their projects, so if any them connect, both governments will be involved.

Cumming’s list includes five local projects and one regional undertaking.

The city wants to improve Maple Street between Veterans Memorial Blvd. and Hwy. 9. Another project would realign the intersection of West Maple and Hwy. 20.

The city also hopes to widen Hwy. 9 from the downtown square to Hwy. 306 and to widen Kelly Mill Road from Hwy. 20 to Tolbert Street.

Steve Bennett, assistant city administrator, said the regional project request pertains to Ga. 400, including adding access ramps at Old Atlanta Hwy. and Mary Alice Park and Buford Dam roads.

He said the city also would like a “collector-distributor road” that would run parallel to Ga. 400 between Old Atlanta and Bald Ridge roads.

“We feel that ... if something was done at each of these places, traffic would flow better through the city,” Bennett said.

“It’s something we’ve been knowing, but haven’t had the money to do something about it. It’s all about making traffic flow.”

Bennett said the city has several other projects that would improve traffic flow, but “we’re not real sure if this money’s going to be available, or how much of it.”

“With everyone wanting into the same pot of money, if we ask for the big stuff, we might not get it. But if it’s a smaller scale, maybe we can get some.”

By early summer, the DOT will provide a draft of proposed projects to the executive committee of each regional commission's roundtable.

Cumming Mayor H. Ford Gravitt serves on the committee.

He, along with the other four members will have until Aug. 15 to come up with a final list, which will then be taken to the 26-member roundtable.

Both the mayor and Tam serve on the roundtable, which must approve a final list by Oct. 15.