McGinnis Ferry widening plans draw crowd - North Atlanta Business Post
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Updated Nov 14 @ 1:05PM

McGinnis Ferry widening plans draw crowd

Forsyth, Johns Creek, Alpharetta residents look for answers at open house about project

McGinnis Road resident Gloria Gayters, who is also president of The Vicarage subdivision, asks questions of Jason McCook, program manager at Moreland Altobelli & Associates, the firm engineering the project for Forsyth County. Gayters and around 200 other residents affected by the widening of McGinnis Ferry attended the drop-in meeting sponsored by the county.
Ann Jones, a resident of the Seven Oaks subdivision in Johns Creek, gets some answers from Forsyth County Engineering Assistant Director Tim Allen.
A homeowner checks out the map inset showing the width of the proposed expansion of McGinnis Ferry Road.
Residents compare notes at the meeting held at Lanier Technical College on Majors Road.

• 4.6 miles of McGinnis Ferry road to be widened from Union Hill Road in Alpharetta to Sargent Road in Johns Creek.

• This is a joint project by Forsyth County, Georgia Department of Transportation, Johns Creek and Alpharetta.

• Preliminary engineering has begun for a four-lane road with a 20-foot raised median strip.

• A 16-foot wide urban shoulder along the north with a 10-foot wide multi-use path.

• A 12-foot wide urban shoulder along the south with a 5-foot wide sidewalk.

• $10 million has been set aside for purchase of rights of way.

• The project is not slated to start before late 2019.

FORSYTH COUNTY, Ga. – Around 200 to 300 residents turned out Jan.10 at Lanier Technical College on Ronald Reagan Parkway for Forsyth County’s open house on the $42 million project to widen 4.6 miles of McGinnis Ferry Road.

Most of those who came to the informal “drop-in” meeting sponsored by Forsyth County were Johns Creek and Alpharetta residents joined by Forsyth homeowners whose subdivisions border the road and are affected by the project.

Many of the attendees were like Seven Oaks subdivision resident Mark Jones whose Johns Creek house backs up to McGinnis Ferry Road. Jones is concerned how much of his backyard will be affected by the widening, the proposed median and sidewalks.

“I want to find out how close the road will be and how much of my property they will have to take,” Jones said. “At one point they said they would have to take 25 feet. That would put the road on my deck. But as bad as it is for me, it’s worse for folks at The Vicarage subdivision. They have homes closer to the road than mine.”

Jones said he understands the need to widen the road, but sidewalks and a “fancy median” are going too far, he said.

“Just settle for the road and nothing else,” he said.

Seven Oaks has an additional problem others don’t have. There is a church cemetery on the Forsyth side that virtually precludes taking any more property on the north side of the road.

Kristine Torre is an affected resident on the Forsyth side and a real estate agent. She said she has seen a lot of homes going up for sale as people “just want to get out,” she said.

She said her main fight is to see that trees taken down for the right of way are replaced with mature trees.

“Our amenities including the pool would have no privacy from the road,” she said.

Larry Hanlon, another Seven Oaks resident said his home is not close to the construction, but he is concerned about increased volumes of traffic, including 18-wheelers, and the effect that could have on property owners throughout his subdivision.

Realtor Kami Pyvand said he expects home values in the affected subdivisions will fall by 20 percent. He said he is meeting with two attorneys to prepare for when construction begins.

While there was no formal presentation, county officials were present with maps of the project so residents could see just where their homes were in relation to the new road. The proposed design includes two lanes in each direction with 20-foot wide raised median sidewalk/trails on both sides of the road.

Construction will be done stages, and traffic control devices will be used to maintain traffic during construction and may require temporary lane closures.

Forsyth County is overseeing the design of the widening project with the Georgia DOT. The cities of John’s Creek and Alpharetta are also participating and providing review and comments on the design.

The Forsyth County Transportation Bond approved by voters in 2014 is providing $18.1 million for this project; GDOT has committed $10 million. Alpharetta and Johns Creek are each participating to the tune of $5 million apiece even though the road is entirely in Forsyth (but not any right of way south of McGinnis.)

Johns Creek Public Works Director Tom Black was also at the meeting to provide what answers he could to city residents.

“East-west capacity will have to be increased to ease the gridlock. McGinnis has been chosen as an arterial road to be widened,” Black said.

McGinnis already exists, so this is the road that GDOT will use. It has already been improved on the Gwinnett side of the border, he noted.

Jason McCook, project manager for Moreland Altobelli & Associates which has the design contract with Forsyth County, said the project is still in its preliminary stage. That is why it is important to gather as much public input as they can.

“We will take every reasonable comment into consideration,” McCook said.

Gloria Gayters, president of The Vicarage HOA, came loaded with questions of McCook from her residents.

He promised every suggestion and every worry will be addressed to the fullest extent possible.

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