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Union Hill Road to be widened in southwest Forsyth
The project will widen about 2.5 miles of the road
WEB union hill intersection JD

Forsyth County officials are moving ahead with the widening of a south Forsyth road.

During a recent work session, members of the Forsyth County Commission voted 4-0, with Commissioner Brian Tam absent, to award the bid for the widening of Union Hill Road to C.W. Matthews Contracting Company Inc. for $19.7 million.

The project will widen about 2.5 miles of the road from two to four lanes between Ga. 400 and McFarland Parkway.

Work will also include the reconstruction and widening of a bridge over Ga. 400.

One side of the road will have a five-foot wide sidewalk on its north side and a 10-foot wide multi-use path will be on the south.

No construction start date was given at the meeting.

Procurement Director Donna Kukarola told commissioners that the county received about $1.2 million in grant funding for the project.

The project is largely being funded by the $200 million traffic bond approved by voters in 2014, though the price came in higher than expected.

“This was in the transportation bond for $12.2 million, so we’re a bit short,” said Dave Gruen, the county’s chief financial officer. “A very, very small amount [will come from] SPLOST VII and the $1.2 million grant will help, so we’re short just under $6 million.”

Gruen said that there was still available funding for the project from $18 million in savings from the Ga. 400 widening project.

He also said there are 10 other projects and was hopeful they would not exceed their projected costs.

“If they come in 20 percent over, there are $100 million of our projects left, so we could need another $20 million,” Gruen said.

He said once the county begins collecting road impact fees, the funds would go toward several of those projects.

One reason for the higher estimates is businesses recovering from the economic downturn.

“Starting in 2008 and probably up until almost 2013-14 [bids] were very deflated,” Kukarola said. “They were discounting labor costs more than materials … they can’t discount their labor anymore.”