The Georgia Department of Transportation is kicking off the public input portion of the proposed project, with public hearings scheduled in both Cherokee and Forsyth counties for mid-May.
Mohamed Arafa, a communications officer with GDOT, said Friday that exactly what the potential changes to the 25-mile stretch of road will be still hasn’t been fleshed out, but they are necessary.
“Basically, what we’re trying to do here is come up with some alternative improvements that will improve mobility and safety improvements that are very much needed,” he said.
The potential changes could include widening parts of the road, intersection reworkings and access changes, among other things, Arafa said.
The project now being discussed is essentially a combination of three separate projects, which were under way in 2008 and planned to widen the same 25 miles of Highway 20 to four lanes, with two lanes in each direction.
But Arafa said although widening the road was the end goal in 2008, now the only plan GDOT has is to increase the traffic capacity and safety on this portion of Highway 20, and they’re hoping for the public to tell them how.
“We strongly believe that this project is intended to serve the people of Cherokee County and Forsyth County,” he said. “Their opinions, their ideas, their preferences, their concerns are important and can make a difference in our planning process.”
Post 1 Cherokee County Commissioner Harry Johnston agreed Friday that changes are needed, whether that involves four-laning the road or other alternatives.
A meeting has been scheduled for the public in each county.
The meetings will not include formal presentations, but those attending will have access to information about the proposed project. Those in attendance at one of the two open houses can give formal comments to a court reporter.
In Cherokee County, the public information meeting will be May 21 at Calvary Baptist Church in Canton from 5 to 8 p.m. In Forsyth County, GDOT will take public opinion May 16 at Otwell Middle School in Cumming from 5 to 8 p.m.