Traffic and road projects are some of the biggest headaches for Forsyth County drivers, but this week local and state leaders held a meeting to discuss ongoing and upcoming projects.
On Wednesday, the Forsyth County Chamber of Commerce hosted the annual transportation summit via an online meeting, where officials discussed a number of road widenings, extension projects, new Ga. 400 interchanges and more.
“We want to show our residents and our business community that they really are the true investors into Forsyth County, and we want to show them that we aren’t sitting still and our transportation projects moving forward, that COVID hasn’t stopped us,” said Cindy Jones Mills, Forsyth County Commissioner for District 4, of this year’s theme: ‘Moving Forward.’
After touching on several projects that had recently been completed – including an intersection at Shiloh Road and Shiloh Crossing and a new traffic signal – Forsyth County Engineering Director John Cunard detailed a few of the upcoming projects.
Cunard said construction of the Ronald Reagan Parkway Extension, which will connect the two existing portions of the road, began in July and would cost a little under $60 million in total.
“But, that will complete our collector road system, which extends from the county line at McGinnis Ferry Road all the way to Bald Ridge Marina Road,” Cunard said. “This segment that is under construction now will tie Majors Road to McFarland Road and complete that project, so that provides us an alternate route to Ga. 400 parallel to 400 on the east side of the road.”
Cunard said the county is also currently obtaining right-of-way for a planned Old Atlanta Road widening project and acquisitions for the project could be done in the next month.
In North Forsyth, Cunard said a project will connect a North Forsyth High School and “will extend the roadway from State Route 369, across Settingdown Road to Coal Mountain Drive.”
“It’s going to be a nice addition to Commissioner Mills’ district. It will build a roundabout on Settingdown Road right next to our Public Safety Complex and provide additional connectivity there and help provide some relief to Hwy. 9 and Hwy. 369 as well,” Cunard said.
The county will partner with GDOT for a trio of widening projects – Post Road from Hwy. 9 to Hwy. 20, Hwy. 306 from Ga. 400 to Hwy. 369 and McGinnis Ferry Road from Union Hill Road to Sargent Road – and a passing lane on Hwy. 369 from the Cherokee County line to Wallace Tatum Road.
The McGinnis Ferry project is also a joint project with the cities of Alpharetta and Johns Creek and is being done in phases. Cunard said those projects should begin next year
District 1 GDOT Commissioner Kelvin Mullins also discussed a Hwy. 20 widening project from I-575 in Canton to Cumming. The project will widen the road to three lanes in each direction with a raised median.
“There’s two projects in Forsyth County, one starting at North Corners Parkway and extending to Post Road, and then there’s a project from Post Road over into Cherokee County at [Hwy.] 369,” Mullins said. “These two segments represent a total improvement value of $308 million, and both of those are scheduled for construction summer of 2022, so coming up.”
Mullins said a Hwy. 9 project to widen the road to four lanes with a raised median was also in the works and would also be done in phases from the Fulton County line to McFarland Road, McFarland to Post Road and Post to Hwy. 141.
The project is about seven miles and will cost about $115 million in total. Construction is expected to begin next summer.
Another Hwy. 9 project about three miles from Hwy. 141 to Hwy. 20, also widening to four lanes with a raised medium will likely begin construction in 2022. The total cost of the project is about $55 million.
Cunard said upcoming there are also upcoming intersection projects at:
· Hwy. 9 and Oak Gove Circle;
· Crossroads Road at Bennett Road to add turning lanes;
· Campground Road at Dickerson Road to add turning lanes;
· Hwy. 9 at Jewell Bennett Road;
· And Trammel Road at Hwy. 20.
Ga. 400 projects
During the summit, transportation projects along Ga. 400, both in and out of Forsyth County were brought up.
New interchanges are planned at McGinnis Ferry Road and at Hwy. 369 with both of those tying into road widening projects.
Cunard said the McGinnis Ferry interchange project would soon begin accepting construction bids and the Hwy. 369 interchange construction would being soon.
“That will be a 36-month project, and we are really looking forward to that,” he said. “It will really change the area.”
Mullins said the McGinnis Ferry interchange’s construction would begin next spring.
“This is a new interchange between Windward Parkway and McFarland, so it will be a new interchange there, full-diamond with some auxiliary lanes north and south, then including some widening,” he said.
In that project, Forsyth handled some of the preliminary engineering and design and purchased some right-of-way, and GDOT purchased the rest of the right-of-way and will handle construction.
The project will cost an estimated $67 million.
Citing the success of the Northwest Corridor Express Lanes in Cherokee and Cobb, GDOT Commissioner Russell McMurry said express lanes, or optional toll lanes, are being planned on Ga. 400 for a $1.4-billion project.
“We anticipate construction in the year 2022, again as a design-build, and completion at the end of 2026, so a lot of work to go on,” McMurray said.
The lanes will run about 16 miles from the North Springs Marta Station in Fulton County to North of McFarland Parkway
McMurry said near the project, a flyover ramp on Ga. 400 to eastbound I-285 would be opening in late October, which will eliminate a “tight… loop ramp” that is currently used.
“I think you all know what a challenge that was to try to navigate that location, “he said. “So very excited, wanted to you to hear it here first.”
Sidewalks and trails
Along with road projects, officials also touched on some sidewalk and Big Creek Greenway projects that are planned.
The first project brought up by Cunard was a 3.1-mile trail project on Pilgrim Mill Road from Holtzclaw Road to Tidwell Park.
On Brannon Road, a sidewalk project is also planned from South Forsyth High School to Old Atlanta Road.
“We’re currently getting [a request for proposal] out for design on that project,” Cunard said, “and as soon as we get the design complete, we’ll move to right-of-way and construction, hopefully by the end of next year.”
Cunard also touched on the final phase of the Big Creek Greenway, which will extend for Johnson Road to Sawnee Mountain Preserve.
“It’s about 4.2 miles total and should be completed in February of next year,” he said.