MILTON, Ga. — Milton city leaders showcased the drafted plan to widen Morris Road, another piece in a district-wide push to ease east-west traffic near Ga. 400.

Relief isn’t right around the corner, though. The proposal, unveiled at the City Council’s Jan. 20 meeting, will be fine-tuned in upcoming months, and right of way acquisition is slated to begin this summer. The city expects to send the project to bid for construction in fall 2022.

The project is designed to complement the widening of McGinnis Ferry Road, another major east-west corridor which adjoins Morris Road farther east. Though Milton has no hand in that project, the Morris Road widening will create a wider corridor that should mitigate congestion in the surrounding area.

As proposed, Morris Road will be widened from two to four lanes with a median from its intersection with Webb Road to Bethany Bend. The roundabout at Webb Road will also be expanded in the north-south direction, and a south “through” lane will be added at the intersection of Bethany Bend.

The plan also calls for a type of intersection unfamiliar to some drivers. The proposal includes restricted crossing U-turns, or RCUTs, at Morris’ intersections with Deer Trail, Flamingo Road and Lathene Drive.

All traffic from these side roads will be required to turn right onto Morris Road and can then make a U-turn at nearby points in the median that will be constructed.  

Daniel Sabia, a project manager with consultants Pond & Company, said RCUTs allow drivers to only navigate one direction of traffic and can dramatically reduce fatal and injury crashes. They will also reduce congestion along Morris Road with side-street traffic only joining the major roadway in one direction.  

The widening project will also benefit pedestrians and bicyclists. The north side of the road’s expansion will include a 10-foot, multi-use pathway and a 5-foot-wide sidewalk on the southern portion. The paths will allow Milton to connect with the Big Creek Greenway, a popular trail system running through Roswell and Alpharetta into Forsyth County.

Sabia told the council the proposed upgrades “will work far into the future” for easing congestion, but the need to expand the roadway has already arrived. Morris Road is reaching a traffic threshold that calls for expansion, he said, and the McGinnis Ferry widening and interchange with Ga. 400 will only serve to increase commuters along Morris.

The McGinnis Ferry 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. McGinnis Ferry serves as an asphalt border between the North Fulton cities and Forsyth County, with each city sharing about 2.3 miles of the roadway with its northern neighbor.  

Alpharetta, Johns Creek and Forsyth County have divvied up funding for the project with some added dollars coming from the state. The cost for the project was originally anticipated to run around $35 million, but that price tag has nearly doubled. Forsyth and the two North Fulton municipalities are currently acquiring right-of-way for the project.

Along with the widening, a new $48 million interchange with McGinnis Ferry at Ga. 400 is in its initial stages.

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