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Longer stretch of road to open than originally planned
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CUMMING -- The date marking the first opening of a third lane on Ga. 400 northbound has been changed and expanded.

Originally, the expansion was planned to open from McFarland Parkway (Exit 12) to Peachtree Parkway/Hwy. 141 (Exit 13) in September, but officials with the Georgia Department of Transportation said the road will likely open in October and will go all the way to Bald Ridge Marina Road (Exit 15).

"It's not going to be September 2016. It's going to be October 2016," said Katie Strickland with the state department, "and in October we'll actually be past [Hwy.] 141. We'll be done to Bald Ridge Marina [Road]. It will take a little bit longer, but more will be done, and we're going to open it in October."

The section to Bald Ridge Marina was originally scheduled to be completed by March, and Strickland said the original timeline was from a contract commitment.

She said she did not have an updated timeframe for other parts of the project.

"In October, we'll have a little bit more of leeway to know where we're going to be on time limit for the next tentative plan work schedule statement," she said.

One reason for the speed up is a schedule that lets workers stay on the job longer and improves efficiency, thus moving the project along quicker.

"They're working an altered schedule so it can get done faster," Strickland said. "They're working in the northbound lanes when the south bound is heavy, so they're doing an alternating work flow so that work gets done faster and ... having an extended schedule.

"Whereas we normally make workers get out of the roadway early in the morning, around 6 a.m., they're letting them work until noon because there is not a rush on the northbound side."

Construction on the 13.4-mile stretch began in November, one year after funding for the project and an array of other widening and improvement projects was approved by voters in an infrastructure bond referendum.

Strickland said there is still some work to be done before opening.

"It's concrete paving, so they're getting it done very quickly," she said. "Obviously, there is another project that's a bridge at Big Creek, and that is also ongoing."

The $47 million - $34 million provided by the 2014 bond and $13 million by state funds - project will create an additional lane on both sides of Ga. 400 from McFarland Parkway to Browns Bridge Road (Hwy. 369), which will become Exit 18.

The department has contributed $13 million and is managing the project.

The remainder - about $34.5 million - will come from the transportation bond program Forsyth County voters approved in November 2014, which will also finance a variety of other roads projects throughout the county.