Cars along Castleberry Road on a recent morning.
ALDO NAHED/Staff. (click for larger version)
A road sign for Castleberry Road near a subdivision. ALDO NAHED/Staff. (click for larger version)
November 20, 2012FORSYTH COUNTY, Ga. — The widening of Castleberry Road has been placed on hold while a new traffic study is performed and funds become available, the Forsyth County Board of Commissioners unanimously approved at their Nov. 15 regular meeting.
Since 2003, Forsyth County Commissioners have wanted to widen Castleberry Road to a four-lane road from a two-lane road.
Voters approved the widening as part of the of the special purpose local option sales tax (SPLOST) in March 2003.
But the issue has simmered due to the economic downturn, been modified and more recently, District 3 Commissioner Todd Levent, who championed the cause for Castleberry-area residents, wanted to downsize the scope of the project.
He has the backing of several residents, who live in subdivisions off Castleberry Road. These residents voiced their opposition to a four-lane widening at the Nov. 15 regular commission meeting.
Saying the traffic is just not there to warrant a road widening; residents in the area are instead calling for minor "road improvements."
But the county has spent about $9 million for traffic studies, design and acquired right of way toward widening Castleberry Road. The county's comprehensive traffic transportation plan also calls for the road to be widened to a four-lane road.
"I do not believe the existing and projected traffic volumes on Castleberry Road justify the expense and impact of four-lane Castleberry Road," Levent said.
Levent's plan, approved unanimously by commissioners Nov. 15, calls for a new traffic study to be done. Then, once funds are available on SPLOST VII (sometime around 2018), the county's department of engineering will have plans for Castleberry to be a straightened two-lane road with enhanced turn lanes, deceleration lanes and traffic signals, where necessary.
In addition, a bike and pedestrian path, landscaping and lighting would also be added as part of the new plan.
Levent said he wants Castleberry improvements to look similar to Kelly Mill Road, which runs between Ga. Highway 20 and Bethelview Road.
Forsyth County data shows that there are at least 11 new developments that have been approved but are unbuilt or partly built along Castleberry Road, according to the traffic consulting firm Gresham, Smith and Partners.
The proposed developments, projected to be built between now and 2021, could generate nearly 7,000 additional trips to Castleberry Road, the study states.
Even if none of the projects are built, the road will be at its threshold capacity of 14,900 by the year 2029.