By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great local journalism.
Road to recovery
Hwy. 9 work funded through stimulus plan
Highway 9 4 es
Construction on Hwy. 9, along with the other 134 first-phase projects statewide, total more than $512 million. - photo by Emily Saunders
About 9.5 miles of Hwy. 9 will be resurfaced this spring as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

The project, which stretches from the Fulton County line to just past Hwy. 20 (click for map), was the only one in Forsyth County that made the cut for the first phase of federal stimulus-funded road improvements.

“We had to meet the federal guidelines and the biggest guideline was the shovel-ready part,” said Teri Pope, spokeswoman for the state Department of Transportation. “The projects had to be under construction within 120 days, and so that obviously cut a lot of things out.”

While stimulus projects have been and will continue to be chosen for their readiness, DOT spokeswoman Erica Fatima said jobs also play a key factor in the decision.

“Projects are also going to be selected based on their ... ability to spread jobs or create jobs throughout all of Georgia,” she said. “Our board has also decided that they would not, at this time, fund projects ... that [cost] considerable amounts of money.”

Hwy. 9, along with the other 134 first-phase projects statewide, total more than $512 million.

Pope said the bulk of those in the first phase involve resurfacing, safety repairs, enhancements and general maintenance. They don’t require environmental studies or buying right of way.

“Every year, DOT engineers ride every lane of every interstate and state route and rate the quality of the pavement condition,” she said. “Typically on a state route, the DOT would like to resurface our roads every 10 years, but it’s been happening every 15 ... so we are getting behind the curve.”

The delay in resurfacing has actually made projects more complex, she said.

If a road has been neglected for too long, instead of fixing problems along the top 2 or 3 inches of the asphalt, repair crews often need to rebuild sections from the dirt up.

Pope said the portion of Hwy. 9 being resurfaced was the highest on the department’s priority list for Forsyth, meaning it was in the worst condition of any other state route in the county.

All counties and municipalities were encouraged to submit a list of eligible projects for Phase II by March 20. Those selected for funding will be announced in December.

John Cunard, the county’s engineering director, said Forsyth submitted 18 projects that meet eligibility requirements.

“There are some resurfacing, bridge replacement and maintenance projects, which originally were not projects I thought to be eligible,” he said.
Among the suggested resurfacing projects, including Antioch Road from Hwy. 9 to Pilgrim Mill Road, Freedom Parkway from Pilgrim Mill Road to Keith Bridge Road and Hopewell Road from the county line to Hwy. 9.

City Administrator Gerald Blackburn said Cumming submitted a couple road projects, including resurfacing Castleberry from the square to Hutchinson Road and resurfacing Pilgrim Mill Road from Hwy. 20 to the city limits.

Blackburn said four of the proposed projects involve resurfacing.

“We can do those quick,” he said. “We can have everything ready for the state in a hurry.”