The project, which added truck passing lanes on 4.3 miles of the congested highway, began in September 2010 and was scheduled to be completed in July, but wet weather delayed the project about a month, GDOT spokesperson Mohamed Arafa said Wednesday.
“The public is happy to see it done and get an extra lane, and to see traffic at peak times moving smoother.” Arafa said.
While construction on the project is complete, some minor work is still to be done, including striping and what Arafa termed “correction work” by the contractor.
“We are glad to complete these passing lanes on schedule and give the improved road back to the traveling public in Cherokee County,” said Dewayne Comer, district engineer at the Georgia DOT office in Cartersville, in a release. “Although some minor work remains to be done, construction is complete as far as the traveling public is concerned.”
Arafa said the lanes will keep traffic from backing up badly when motorists make a left-hand turn.
“Traffic on Highway 20 is benefitting; this helps with congestion. Trucks that had to be waiting behind a vehicle turning left now have a way to pass, and this cuts down on back-up. It eases congestion that results from vehicles turning,” Arafa said.
The project wraps up all construction on Highway 20 in Cherokee, but environmental studies on a major project are now underway.
The State Route 20 Project from Interstate 575 to Highway 400 in Cumming is not expected to see construction begin until 2020, GDOT officials have said.
Results of a survey and two public meetings were released in June, with a total of 361 attending the meetings to give input on what the scope of the project should include. About 213 attended the meeting held in Cherokee County in Ball Ground and 148 went to the meeting in Cumming. A total of 848 visited the online survey, GDOT documents show.
Arafa said Wednesday the environmental assessment for the project is underway.
“We are trying to come up with a concept of what we want to do, and that is why we went to the community. We are working on the National Environmental Policy Act, required by federal government, which includes environmental effects, cultural, natural and social,” Arafa said. “This is the first phase of the plan, public involvement.”
According to the report, the widening of Highway 20 from Interstate 575 to Scott Road is expected to begin in 2018.
“Given the extensive input we received and concern about congestion in the area, we are working to determine if there are any other feasible short term options that might help alleviate traffic congestion in this area,” the report states.