Funds Secured to Widen SR-20, between Canton and Cumming

- Canton, Ga---Changes are coming to State Route 20, between Canton and Cumming. Teams are working now to design new lanes that will be paid for by the state.

In January of 2013 we spoke with homeowners and business owners who were upset with a proposal to realign Hwy. 20, moving it off the existing route. The DOT says, it heard from the community, they've secured the money at the state level, and now are planning to widen the current road instead.

If you ever drive between Canton and Cumming on State Route 20, you know it's almost always congested.  "The way it gets backed up right here at 575, it spreads out. It's not what it used to be," says Mike Thomas, who works at Dick's Sporting Goods along Hwy. 20.

"You have so many new developments up in that area, so many new neighborhoods, a lot of growth in that area," adds DOT spokeswoman Natalie Dale.

Now the Georgia DOT is moving up plans to make it a 4-lane highway. "It's got to happen. It takes too long to get to work. It makes commuting a nightmare," adds Thomas.

Thanks to House Bill-170, the Georgia Transportation Infrastructure Bank Act, more projects like this one can be paid for on the state level, instead of waiting for federal funds. "What's important about that, is that we can look at what the community's needs were and we don't have to bring many options to the table that we know won't work for that community, or we know won't be the best alternative or even a more expensive, longer alternative," explains Dale.

Last year, many people voiced concerns over a proposal to redraw a new Highway 20. "So we heard very loud and clear from the community that this was what they wanted: A simple widening, no realignment," adds Dale.

Salon owner Rhonda Brown was relieved. "I rented a space off of Hwy. 20 for a reason, so I could have more exposure and now...staying on it will be great," she says.

The 24-mile stretch of highway will be broken up into six segments for design and construction: I-575 to Scott Road, Scott Road to Union Hill Road, Union Hill Road to E. Cherokee Drive, E. Cherokee Drive to SR 369 ,SR 369 to SR 371 and finally SR 371 to the existing 4-lane road in Cumming.

The project is being fast tracked from it’s original 2019 start date.

"It is so, so needed. We've needed this, it's been coming for a while," says Brown.

Design for all six segments begins this month. Once the plans are drawn, a better timeline for construction and a price tag will be available. DOT says more than 50-thousand drivers use the corridor each day, but they estimate once the road is widened, that number will triple to 150-thousand the year 2045.

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