The intersection of Ga. 400 and Dawson Forest Rd.
Forsyth officials discuss Ga. Hwy 400 interstate proposal
Georgia Highway 400 has been transformed from two to three lanes in many areas and others are slated to undergo changes too. With residential and business growth on the rise along the roadway and throughout Dawson County, infrastructure to support the development, according to some local officials, is key and one solution could be converting Ga. Highway 400 to an interstate.
Members of the Forsyth County Transportation committee met in mid-October to discuss a proposal for such a conversion on the highway that serves metro Atlanta. From that meeting came another, focused on the feasibility of such a change and the process to make it happen.
Georgia Department of Transportation officials said the change was not currently in place.
Connectivity is key, according to committee members. Specifically, two types: connectivity to another state, which Ga. 400 does not have, and connectivity to an interstate. Since the road connects to I285, it fulfills this requirement.
To move forward, it must meet DOT requirements and receive approval from GDOT. It also needs approval by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials and the Federal Highway Administration before going to congress and requiring an official act.
The Forsyth County committee included Assistant County Manager Garrin Coleman, four commissioners (Pete Amos, Dennis Brown, Cindy Jones, and Chairman Todd Levent).
Representatives from other counties and cities along the road would also be involved in the project.
“I have not seen that study at this time so it would be hard for me to comment on it,” Dawson County Commission Chairman Billy Thurmond wrote in an Oct. 28 email to Smoke Signals.
The proposal came from an economic development update with the Cumming Forsyth County Chamber of Commerce and was done by Austin-based TIP Strategies.
Change doesn’t seem likely, according to Jones, citing the loss of flexibility in being able to improve the highway if it went to a federal highway system. It wouldn’t be a good move for our citizens, she added.
“The economic development plan recommended doing this to draw more businesses here but the consultant obviously did no homework before just throwing the idea out there,” Jones said.
View of traffic on 400