ALPHARETTA, Ga. — Alpharetta has advanced two major road widening projects designed to ease traffic flow along its busy east-west corridors.
The City Council approved $2.7 million in funding for design work and project management to add additional lanes on Old Milton Parkway from Northpoint Parkway east to Kimball Bridge Road.
The Johns Creek Public Works Department recently completed its second season of the city’s 2019-2023 neighborhood repaving program.
At the same July 20 meeting, the council signed an inter-governmental agreement with the City of Johns Creek and Forsyth County for road widening along McGinnis Ferry Road, another busy corridor for east-west travel.
Both roadways carry tens of thousands of commuters into the city each day from Johns Creek and Gwinnett County.
As part of its 2016 transportation sales tax initiative, Alpharetta committed $6 million to the Old Milton Parkway project, most of it directed at design and right of way. The Georgia DOT has set aside $25 million to assist with construction.
Since passage of the transportation sales tax four years ago, Alpharetta has shifted about $1 million of the Old Milton Parkway funding to other projects that are closer to construction.
Alpharetta Public Works Director Pete Sewczwicz said the end goal right now is to have the project designed, right of way acquired and construction completed by the time the express lanes open on Ga. 400, probably in 2027.
Council members will have plenty on their plate in the coming months when they consider big-ticket items planned for Alpharetta parks, roads and public safety.
Sewczwicz told the council that the original proposal called for converting the existing right turn lanes from North Point Parkway to Kimball Bridge Road. But, since the initial phases, the city has learned those turn lanes could not accommodate truck traffic.
A more cost-effective approach the city is now pursuing, Sewczwicz said, is to encroach on the center landscape, narrowing it from its current width of from 40-60 feet down to about 16 feet. Such a move, he said, could save an estimated $12 million in right of way costs.
City leaders also approved an intergovernmental agreement July 20 that will advance work on widening McGinnis Ferry Road to four lanes along a 4.7-mile stretch from Sargent Road in Johns Creek west to Union Hill Road in Alpharetta. Each city shares about 2.3 miles of the roadway with Forsyth County.
But the project has faced funding problems.
Originally estimated at around $35 million, the project now carries an estimated price tag of $60 million.
Both Johns Creek and Alpharetta had committed $4.9 million from TSPLOST funds back in 2016. They more recently upped their contributions to $5.9 million.
This new agreement, calls for each city to contribute $8.9 million. Forsyth County, which originally pledged $18 million when the project was proposed in 2015, would now contribute $23 million, and the Georgia DOT would kick in almost $20 million.
The plan right now calls for Forsyth County to conduct title searches and perform appraisals for all right of way. Alpharetta will obtain the right of way in its jurisdiction.
The Forsyth County Board of Commissioners agreed to move forward with a sidewalk project that will run along Brannon Road and a section of Ronald Reagan Boulevard.
That was a sticking point earlier in negotiations when Forsyth officials suggested handling all the right of way acquisitions.
“I want to stress we are not having Forsyth County obtain the right of way,” Sewczwicz said. “They’re just doing all the research for us. We’ll get the right of way team together and start going door to door and talking to people and working out agreements.”
Sewczwicz said the deadline for acquiring right of way is March 2022.
Johns Creek is reviewing the proposal and is expected to consider the multi-government agreement at an upcoming City Council meeting.
“Things are complex when you’re dealing with multiple entities,” Alpharetta Mayor Jim Gilvin said. “But [it has] big rewards.”