ALPHARETTA, Ga. — Forsyth County officials approved one of its first contracts for the widely anticipated McGinnis Ferry Road widening project.

The contract, for appraisal and cost estimates, covers a portion of the project lying along the stretch that borders the City of Alpharetta. The Forsyth County Board of Commissioners approved the document at its April 28 work session.

Under terms of an agreement struck earlier this year, Alpharetta will reimburse Forsyth County the $209,000 cost of the contract with Greg Malcolm & Associates.

McGinnis Ferry Road runs along the southern border of Forsyth County, with Alpharetta and Johns Creek hugging half the highway to the south. It serves as a major east-west commuter route from Gwinnett County west through North Fulton and is expected to draw more traffic with the state’s plan to add an interchange at Ga. 400.

The road widening project calls for adding a lane in each direction along a 4.7-mile stretch from Sargent Road in Johns Creek west to Union Hill Road in Alpharetta. Each city shares about 2.3 miles of the roadway with Forsyth County.

In a negotiated agreement finalized in February, Johns Creek and Alpharetta agreed to pay $5.9 million each, primarily from transportation sales tax dollars. Forsyth County will contribute $18 million to the total cost.

The Georgia Department of Transportation is committing $10 million to the project.

Estimates for the cost of the overall project have ballooned since it was first proposed more than five years ago. Original estimates set the price tag at about $35 million, and Johns Creek and Alpharetta committed $5.5 million of their transportation sales tax dollars for their share.

Since that time, however, estimates on the cost have risen to as much as $60 million for the project.

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