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Residents get look at plans to widen Sharon
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This model shows the planned changes to Sharon Road. - photo by Jennifer Sami
For the past decade, Allan and Yvette Chandler’s home is the first one visitors see when they enter the Sharon Walk community.

The couple has raised two of their three children there, with the third still at home.

It was for their son, and the dozens of other children in the community, that they came to Monday’s open house on the proposed widening of Sharon Road.

The project would turn Sharon into a four-lane road, with turn lanes as needed, from Hwy. 141 to Old Atlanta Road. The widening, which would not begin before 2011, would be paid for through 1-cent sales tax money, officials said.

Families, business owners, park goers and area residents attended the open house, where they got to look over maps of the proposed plan and ask questions of the project’s designers and county engineers.

Some liked the design. Others including the Chandlers, whose driveway would be a few feet from the road, were skeptical.

“We would be playing ‘Frogger’ to get out of our neighborhood,” said Yvette Chandler, comparing the crossing to the video game. “We have 37 elementary kids in our neighborhood right now and I don’t want them to learn that way.

“Their traffic study was done back in May, which obviously everyone was still going to South Forsyth High. Lambert [High School] wasn’t opened yet, so a lot of that traffic has been diverted now.”

Mario Macrina, a designer with project design firm Wolverton & Associates, said feedback was mixed. 

“The majority of people seem to want the project. It’s just that they don’t want it to impact their house specifically,” he said. “But we do the best we can to minimize that.”

Macrina said more than 40 properties likely would be affected in some way by the project.

The proposed four-lane project would include a median and sidewalks.

But the range of impact varies from buying property for the route to temporarily using some land during construction.

Some in attendance had engineering degrees and came with specific questions. Others were learning construction terms for the first time.

Macrina said the most frequent questions he heard were about Sharon Circle and Sharon Springs Park. Residents want the park to have a traffic signal, which he said isn’t warranted yet.

Many comments were personal, Macrina said, but the project is at least two years away from breaking ground.

Once started, it would take about 18 months to finish, said Tim Allen, assistant director of the Forsyth County Engineering Department.

The Sharon Road plan is a lower-priority project for the sixth round of the county’s current 1-cent sales tax, known as SPLOST VI.

“There’s a possibility it won’t be funded in SPLOST VI,” Allen said. “Best case scenario, it’s going to be 2011, 2012 before it starts construction. Worst case, it’s going to slip into SPLOST VII, which would be after 2013.”

Ray Martin is no stranger to county construction projects. A previous project took about 10 feet of his property.

Though the county paid for him to move his fence 10 feet closer to his home, “it took so long, the contractor went out of business and the cost was four times the original price,” he said.

Martin said this time around, the widening doesn’t affect his property, though it will impact the area he travels daily.

“What they’re saying is by adding all of this, they’re going to thin out the traffic a little bit, so maybe we’ll just have to bite the bullet on that,” he said. “But I would like a little bit more information. Just inform us on what’s important to us.

“For instance, here’s this median here. That’s nice, but what’s that going to do to me? Tell me what that’s going to do to me, instead of telling me this is progress and we’re going to try to thin traffic.

“I’m the one that lives here. But when you’re done, you’re going to get to go back home.”