FORSYTH COUNTY, Ga. — In an effort to ease the traffic headache through Forsyth County, the Board of Commissioners plans to update its comprehensive transportation plan. Michael Kray, consultant team project manager for Jacobs Engineering, recently gave an update on the county’s plan.
“We want to have a plan that’ll be implemented,” Kray said. “In a review of the previous comprehensive transportation plan, the county’s engineering staff has done a great job getting the projects funded and off the ground. In my experience working with other counties around Georgia, Forsyth County does an excellent job of taking something from a plan and putting in on the ground.”
Since the previous plan was adopted, 76 percent of short-range county transportation projects and 90 percent of intersection improvements have been funded. The funding sources come from a variety of areas including SPLOST, state funding, federal funding and bonds. Kray said he uses Forsyth as an example to other cities and counties of how to use a bond to leverage state and federal funds to get projects done.
“That is an extraordinary number (for short-range project funding). In fact, the other 24 percent that isn’t funded is on state routes, and that funding comes from other entities. So all the short-range county roads have been funded here,” Kray said. “This is a great implementation rate. The goal we have for this planning document is to have good planning projects that can be taken and implemented through other funding sources like SPLOST.”
Commissioner Cindy Jones Mills asked Kray if the county anticipates the growth and how that will impact transportation projects.
“We have a couple different projections on populations and use the regional travel model that provides projections through the year 2040,” Kray said. “We are taking that into account.”
Mills asked if the 20-year plan is too broad for the county because it grows so quickly.
“When the project list and action lists come out, they will be separated into different time windows, including a short-term, midterm and long-term plan,” Kray said. “That short-term plan has the projects that are expected to be done within five years. After that time, there’ll be another planning process. Twenty years is a long time, but we will definitely focus on the short-term as much as the long-term.”
The planning process, which began in January, takes about a year. Kray said he hopes to finish by December 2017. Currently, staff is collecting data and reviewing it, garnering stakeholder and public input and establishing baseline conditions.
The next phase is the assessment of needs where the team will analyze the road congestion, safety and accessibility. After that, the projects will be identified and prioritized along with implementation and the creation of a funding strategy.
Demographics will be taken into consideration as will the condition of the roads and how often they are used.