Several hundred concerned Forsyth and Cherokee County citizens turned out on Monday night to the first of two open houses being hosted by GDOT to reveal proposed changes to the plan for Hwy 20 between Canton and Cumming. After months of hearing concerns from residents, business owners and local elected officials over the completely unnecessary 6-lane proposal, here is GDOT’s response:

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That’s it. GDOT heard from residents that a 6-lane highway was not needed or wanted in the community, and their response was to tweak the road’s alignment in a few spots to preserve entrance signs and parking spaces and to add a turn lane for a church. These changes are so insignificant in the bigger picture that they might as well have changed the shade of white they planned to stripe the road with.

A few other changes were visible on the display boards set up around the room, if you knew what you were looking for. The new plans have reduced the previously 12′ lanes to two 11′ lanes and one 12′ lane (for trucks and school buses), which reduces the right-of-way by a total of 2′ but will increase sideswipe accidents by up to 5% according to FHWA data. One additional traffic signal was added at the Canton Exchange, a shopping center featuring a Party City and Hobby Lobby that’s slated to open in fall 2018, and five additional requests for traffic signals were denied. Here’s a full list of “major changes” proposed by GDOT, according to the handout provided at the meeting:

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And, with that, GDOT has checked the box next to the requirement for “community input” without actually taking into account the concerns of the community.

GDOT will be hosting the second of the two open houses next Tuesday, May 16, at Calvary Baptist Church in Canton/Ball Ground from 5:00-7:00. Detailed display boards depicting the entire stretch of road will be available for the duration, and several GDOT employees and transportation consultants will be on hand to answer questions and receive feedback from affected residents. Question/Comment sheets, provided by GDOT, can be submitted at the meeting, or comments can be submitted online at GDOT’s SR20 website. (About halfway down the page there’s a gold button that says “Submit Comment.”)

Comments/letters may also be submitted in writing to:

Mr. Eric Duff
Georgia Department of Transportation
State Environmental Administrator
One Georgia Center/16th Floor
600 West Peachtree Street NW
Atlanta, GA 30308

Comments MUST be received by May 30, 2017, in order to be considered by GDOT. 

If you haven’t already, please sign and share our petition and write your local representatives and GDOT to voice your concerns about their plans. You can also sign up to volunteer with the Hwy 20 Community Alliance, or share this information with family and friends.

While we are frustrated by GDOT’s lack of concern for the communities and individuals affected by their proposed plan, we are not discouraged. It simply means that we must be louder and push harder.

6 thoughts on “GDOT has heard our concerns…and dismissed them entirely

  1. There are reasons people move to Cherokee county. It consists of a hometown feel, loving community, close knit towns, and support. This entire road threatens to Destroy all those reasons and so many more. Does Hwy 20 need an upgrade? Absolutely! But does it need it on the scale suggested, NO!

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  2. Typical transportation bureaucrats with their own agenda, totally ignoring the desire of community residents to cut back the scale of the highway from 6 lanes to 4…ridiculous!

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  3. I find this very frustrating. Communities will be split. Local people will find it more difficult to visit family and friends and even go shopping. Why do we have to pay the price so that people who don’t even live in these communities or counties can be happy? It really isn’t fair. Who is going to explain to our grandchildren and great-grandchildren where all the open spaces and friendly communities have gone to? They will not have the opportunity to enjoy what we have taken for granted.

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    1. I agree – this will absolutely destroy the Lathemtown/FreeHome community. Of which we have come to love as our hometown for almost 30 years. I am on the road a LOT, different time of the day. There is no way we need 6 lanes. 4 lanes or more turning lanes, yes…..6 lanes, absolutely not. Our churches and small businesses will be so inaccessible, I fear for their survival. It will take me and several others on our road a lot further and a lot more time to even get to our church, which now is only 2 miles away. Having to go the opposite direction, then perform a U-Turn to get there and to return home…….U-Turning that many cars to me is much more dangerous.

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  4. Why are 6 lanes necessary in Lathemtown when there are only 2 lanes in front of Lowes near 575? The traffic backs up in both directions leaving and approaching 575. Why wasn’t Hwy. 20 widened before the hospital and this shopping opened. Hwy. 20 will function perfectly well in Lathemtown with 4 lanes! Lets get logical!!!!!

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