WEST FORSYTH — Forsyth County has an official plan in place for the next extension of its popular Big Creek Greenway.
While an exact timeline for the 5.5-mile fifth phase has not been determined, the county commissioners’ 5-0 vote during their meeting Thursday night made official changes to the route unveiled in late November.
The fifth phase will take the pedestrian and bicycling path from Kelly Mill Road to Sawnee Mountain Visitors Center.
The route adjustment, which avoids denser residential areas on either Mountain Valley Circle and Valley Lane or Conley Drive, means the greenway will run farther down Canton Highway (Hwy. 20) until reaching Spot Road Connector.
From there, it will travel to Spot Road before ending at the mountain. It originally would have reached the mountain directly from Spot.
Deputy County Manager Tim Merritt said the county would wait to work on Hwy. 20 portion until the Georgia Department of Transportation was ready to widen the corridor. He added that work likely could occur on both sides of that section before the widening was completed.
The greenway starts near McFarland Parkway and currently spans 6.8 miles to Bethelview Road. Its 3.6-mile fourth phase, from Bethelview Road up to Kelly Mill near Johnson Road, remains under construction.
Work began in November 2013. No completion date has been announced. Officials have previously attributed delays to the weather and redesign work.
The fourth phase will extend the total length of the greenway to about 9.6 miles.
The greenway construction is being funded by the parks, recreation and green space bond program voters approved nearly eight years ago.
Earlier plans floated for the fifth phase had the trail connecting with the preserve on the other side of the mountain. However, that idea was unpopular due to a steep incline, the preserve having only natural trails and its prohibition on dogs and bicycles.
Merritt said he would present a final cost for the engineering and redesign work on the alteration at an upcoming work session.
A change from the original route that would have used the greenway to connect Kelly Mill and Chamblee Gap roads via Johnson Road was also shown during the presentation Thursday.
The approved route avoids Johnson and instead comes out farther west on Chamblee Gap.