It appears a popular state route in west Forsyth will soon come under county control.
At a work session on Tuesday, Forsyth County Commissioners approved a motion to wait 45 days to agree to a resolution for the county to takeover Post Road (Hwy. 371), which has been operated by the Georgia Department of Transportation, and for the county to take over any emergency repairs on the road until then.
“It is beyond dispute now that GDOT is very serious ... [that] it’s not theirs, Post Road is not GDOT’s,” said County Attorney Ken Jarrard. “Of course, the county authorized a letter to go to GDOT asking them to either reconsider or delay, and I think they politely declined to acquiesce to that request, and therefore it is ours.”
In a letter sent to Chairwoman Laura Semanson in November, GDOT Commissioner Russell McMurry said the road “no longer warrants being in the state highway system,” and a portion of the Bethelview Road between Hwys. 9 and 20 will now be a part of Hwy. 141.
The letter also stated that GDOT would not move forward for a planned project to eliminate the left turn from Bentley Road onto Post Road but would continue with a planned traffic signal at Pittman Road.
Post Road has received renewed attention following an August accident involving 16-year-old Zoe Ordway, who was seriously injured when making a left turn from Bentley Road onto Post Road.
County, state and law enforcement officials held a town hall in October of 2019 to discuss issues with nearby residents. At the time, residents were also in favor of widening the road, and some said they wanted to see the road move under the county’s purview.
Post Road went under state control in the early ‘90s but was switched back soon after due to complaints from the community at the time.
In October, commissioners also requested that the speed limit on the road be reduced from 40 mph to 30 mph for school zones.
County officials said if commissioners did not sign an agreement taking over the road, essentially no one would control it.
Post Road is slated to be widened from two to four lanes between Hwy. 9 and Hwy. 20, with the first phase of work scheduled to start in 2028 and the second phase in 2035.
As commissioners discussed the issues, there was some friction between Semanson and District 3 Commissioner Todd Levent, as Semanson said “there were things that were done, actions that were taken, letters that were sent, posts that were made that damaged the relationships” with GDOT which appeared to be a reference to Levent, who said the description was “BS.”
According to documents provided by the county, Levent sent a letter to GDOT Commissioner Russell McMurry asking for the state to move up construction of the project and saying moving back the date was “the wrong decision.”
The commissioners also seemingly did not see eye to eye on funding for the project.
“The answer as to how much money that [GDOT] would contribute to make the necessary improvements to that road wasn’t different whether the road was ours or theirs,” Semanson said.
Levent, who made the motion to wait 45 days for a resolution, said he wanted to have time to make sure that was the case.
“I want to make dang sure before we just take this road and put a burden on our citizens of $110 million, we’re doing the right thing,” he said.