If you live in or visit Forsyth County, you have undoubtedly encountered some of GA 400. While there are many substantial transportation projects throughout the state, there is one in particular that promises to not only make life on GA 400 easier, but provide a boost to a key Georgia county.
Specifically, we are speaking about the Georgia Department of Transportation’s (“DOT”) plan to add express lanes to Georgia State Route 400 (“GA 400”). This project is one of 11 initial projects in the Major Mobility Investment Program that will create a connected network of express lanes throughout the state. It is also one of the projects ongoing on GA 400, including the widening of the highway.
Ultimately, these new express lanes will provide countless benefits to residents and visitors of Forsyth County. One of the most significant benefits centers on new economic opportunities and improved mobility within the county.
GA 400 is one of the most important roads in the metro Atlanta area. It allows commuters, freight, and others to travel from Atlanta to metro Atlanta’s north-central suburbs and exurbs (or vice versa). This new plan to add express lanes to GA 400 is an effort to improve mobility on this critical highway.
The plan itself calls for the addition of new optional express lanes: from the North Springs MARTA Station to McFarland Parkway. These will be buffer-separated express lanes and will travel in each direction. There will also be one buffer-separated express lane (in each direction) from McGinnis Ferry Road to McFarland Parkway. To access the project map of this plan, please click here.
Several months ago, the Georgia DOT hosted five Public Information Open Houses to provide public information and solicit comments about the express lane project. To view the Georgia DOT’s summary of comments and its responses, click here. Currently, the Georgia DOT is conducting environmental studies on this project. These environmental studies are scheduled to conclude next year. The current plan is for construction to begin in 2022 and the express lanes to be open to traffic by 2027.
The GA 400 express lane project is certainly a large investment in Forsyth County’s infrastructure. But having said this, the ultimate goal is that these new express lanes serve residents, visitors and business owners in the region. It is intended to provide a clear choice to bypass traffic congestion. It should also provide more reliable and predictable travel times. These express lanes rely on a dynamically-priced tool and present ways for drivers to commute with less frustration. By creating a seamless way to travel from Forsyth County to Atlanta (and vice versa), the project increases home values within Forsyth County. It opens up new opportunities for Georgians to move into Forsyth County—even if they work in Atlanta or further.
Beyond this benefit to commuters in Forsyth County, the GA 400 express lane project will play a part in adding jobs and boosting the local economy. Forsyth County already offers a significant amount of business incentives: from local inventory tax to public improvement construction.
Small and large businesses want easy access to the city of Atlanta and the metro Atlanta area. This is not only for their particular business needs, but for the comfort and well-being of their employees. Instead of having Atlanta-based employees sitting in traffic on their way to their Forsyth County office, corporate actors have decided to establish their locations near or in Atlanta.
With increased access to and from Forsyth County, it is more plausible for corporations to consider relocation. There are certainly many factors at play, but easier access to and from Atlanta may incentivize some companies to take the leap and establish a location—or their headquarters—in Forsyth County. These relocations lead to more tax revenues and added financial benefits for all residents of the county. Along with relocation, the GA 400 express project benefits companies already established in Forsyth County.
The SR 400 express project is a win-win-win for Forsyth County residents, visitors, and businesses. It not only makes life easier for commuters, but it unlocks hidden value within the county. From the business owner thinking about relocation to the mom and pop shop that has been in the county for several years now, this new transportation option presents exciting opportunities for Forsyth County’s economy.
It is easy to be frustrated about traffic within the state of Georgia. Often, it takes much longer than you would expect to get from point A to point B. Instead of accepting the status quo, individuals within state and local governments have been acting to alleviate the congestion.
The GA 400 express project is a step in the right direction. The project promises to offer significant value to the area. Whether you are a decades-long resident of the county or are a business owner that is thinking about leveraging some of the many economic incentives within the county, it is easy to see the economic benefits of this game-changing project.