During the meeting at Calvary Baptist Church near Ball Ground, GDOT representatives will ask residents for their input on how the 25-mile stretch of the major commuter route should be improved, said Teri Pope, GDOT spokeswoman.
“We’re still trying to get information back from the community about what they think needs to happen,” Pope said Friday of the project, which has been billed as public-comment-driven and has no firm plans yet. “There will be several displays set up. It’s very interactive. There’s no speeches.”
The meeting Tuesday night from 5 to 7 p.m. is part of the second round of public meetings for the project stretching from Interstate 575 in Canton to Highway 400 in Cumming, which has been in the planning stages since 2008.
GDOT officials have said that no solid plans exist for the project, but widening the road at least in some spots is a possibility, if the feedback from public makes that step warranted. The construction is needed because the road has become more dangerous and congested in recent years, with traffic expected to more than double in some places by 2040, according to GDOT.
Pope said the meeting Tuesday, along with one in Cumming on Thursday, is part of the project’s Environmental Impact Study. That’s the most intensive type of environmental documentation ordered by the Federal Highway Administration.
The study has been underway for more than a year and is expected to be complete and handed over to FHA sometime in 2016 for approval, GDOT officials have estimated. Pope said the meeting Tuesday is “about Step 2 out of about 10,” in the EIS portion of the undertaking.
Once the study is turned in, the Department of Transportation estimates that right of way purchasing for the project could begin in 2019 at the earliest, as could construction.
Pope said the public feedback received during the first round of public meetings in May has been documented and will be available for those in attendance Tuesday night.
“Actually on the map that shows the roadway, you’ll be able to see the comments people made about that intersection on the map,” Pope said, “so that we can either validate, ‘Yes, that is a valid comment,’ or (not).”
Residents unable to attended Tuesday’s meeting can weigh in online at www.sr20.metroquest.com.