FORSYTH COUNTY, Ga. — It’s no secret that Forsyth County is growing rapidly, and with growth comes traffic. But in the next few years, congestion along Ga. 400 may lighten up thanks to the proposed interchange at McGinnis Ferry Road.
An open house April 11 gave the public a chance to see the proposed idea and to voice opinions.
The project design work is being performed by Forsyth County, but is overseen and let by the Georgia Department of Transportation because Ga. 400 is a state road.
Assistant Director of Engineering for Forsyth Tim Allen said building will start in 2018, but the project was modeled in the county’s major transportation plan for more than a decade. This project is expected to be completed in 2020.
In 2007 the county employed a consultant to conduct a traffic study to establish the feasibility for a possible new interchange. Then in 2010, GDOT approved the Interchange Feasibility Report allowing the county to authorize continued expenditures and to develop a full report. In 2012, the county approved its consultant to continue work.
Funding comes from multiple agencies, including the state and Forsyth County, where voters approved a $200 transportation bond in 2014.
The project will consist of a full-diamond interchange on Ga. 400 at McGinnis Ferry Road that will add a northbound and southbound auxiliary lane on Ga. 400 between the Windward Parkway and McGinnis Ferry Road ramps, and between the McGinnis Ferry Road and McFarland Parkway ramps. Ga. 400 southbound will be widened one additional lane near the McFarland exit ramp. The project will also replace the existing bridge over Ga. 400 and widen McGinnis Ferry Road from Bethany Bend through the intersection at Union Hill Road onto Ronald Reagan Boulevard to Counselors Way.
The overall project length is 4.98 miles.
Additionally, it will connect to the widening work that was just completed on Union Hill and Mullinax Road, and the ongoing work where Union Hill is being widened, Allen said. This interchange will also connect McGinnis Ferry to Ronald Reagan Boulevard, which will be fully extended starting in 2018 from McFarland to Majors Road, he said.
“It gives all the residents of the county another option to get to and from Ga. 400 and across the county,” Allen said. “It also interconnects our major arterials. It’s a big deal.”
And although it gives drivers another roadway option, it probably won’t reduce traffic.
“The county is growing,” Allen said. “You can’t build your way out of traffic congestion. But you can give more options. We’re trying to do that with the current plan and working with the GDOT, maximizing the money we have by adding a third lane on Ga. 400 from McFarland Parkway to Ga. 369. Next year we will be building the Ga. 369 interchange at Ga. 400 to get rid of the signal crossing, which will unplug Ga. 400 and alleviate the day-to-day, morning-to-night gridlock on Ga. 400.”
The county will be in great shape due to the future mobility options for cars, bikers and walkers for the next 10-15 years, Allen said.
“We aren’t going to fix everything, but we will have options,” Allen said. “Mobility options are the most important thing in the next 20 years if you live in this county, not just for roadways, but for biking and pedestrians trails. All the roadway improvements include a multi-use trail and a sidewalk. There are a lot of ways to get around which will be interconnected in the next 10-15 years. It’ll be great in the future from a mobility standpoint.”
GDOT is accepting public input until April 21 at dot.ga.gov/ps/public/publicoutreach. Select Forsyth County, then the option SR400@MCGinnis Ferry Interchange.
More information can be found http://bit.ly/2opze5W.