CANTON — A long-awaited state road work project on Highway 20 east of Canton is finally nearing completion just as another project for the road gets underway.
After three years of construction and frustrated drivers, a project adding truck passing lanes to the high-traffic corridor east of Canton is almost finished, said Mohamed Arafa, a communications officer for the Georgia Department of Transportation.
The construction project began in 2010 and spans 4.3 miles of Highway 20, beginning at its intersection with Union Hill Road and ending at Greenwood Court east of Highway 369.
Arafa said Monday that the GDOT put the finishing touches on several of the new lanes and opened them to traffic last week.
Only some minor work is left to be completed, Arafa said.
“The good news is that the remaining work will not interfere with traffic,” he said.
Arafa said the construction will be completely finished by the end of July, assuming weather doesn’t slow the process down.
The final cost for the undertaking will come in under budget at $7.6 million, Arafa said.
Meanwhile, another much more involved GDOT project on Highway 20 is still in its infancy.
GDOT has recently closed the first round of public meetings on coming construction to Highway 20 from Interstate 575 in Canton to Highway 400 in Cumming.
The Department of Transportation is now “sorting out” input from residents who attended two recent public meetings in May, one in Canton and Cumming, Arafa said.
In these meetings, residents were polled on what changes they see for this 25-mile stretch of road. A survey was also made available online for those unable to attend the meetings.
Previously, in 2008, GDOT was in the process of doing preliminary leg work for a similar set of projects on the same 25 miles of the highway, which would have resulted in widening the road.
For the current project though, representatives with the department have been clear that no plans yet exist for what changes will be made, and that they wanted the public to drive the process.
Arafa said this round of public meetings was part of the process required for such projects through the National Environmental Policy Act.
NEPA procedures also require environmental studies be completed on what impact construction could have to the environment.
For the 25-mile overhaul, GDOT began its environmental studies about a year ago.
Once GDOT has completed the requirements laid out by NEPA, a document will be produced detailing the options, expectations and potential impact of the construction. This document must be approved by the Federal Highway Authority, Arafa said.
The draft of this document for the Canton-to-Cumming project is expected to be complete in 2016, Arafa said.
Arafa said once the NEPA document is approved, the right-of-way acquisition process can begin, and construction will hopefully start in 2020.