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Ronald Reagan toll: BOC OKs study for project

LAWRENCEVILLE - A yearlong study will determine if a toll project to extend Ronald Reagan Parkway to Interstate 85 will be feasible, after commissioners agreed Tuesday to share costs of the study with a private firm.

"We don't know exactly where, we don't know exactly how it will be done, but that's what the predevelopment process will determine," Gwinnett Transportation Director Brian Allen said of the agreement with Skanska USA Civil Southeast, where the county will bear $1.5 million of the costs.

But with so many questions left to answer, Norman Chambers said he wished commissioners accepted comments from the public on the proposal.

"The commissioners should get a feeling of whether there is enough support from the community or if it would be another possibility for the public to revolt," he said, adding that it could affect his Snellville community.

Allen said the study period will include extensive public comment sessions as well as a look into the feasibility of a link to I-85, the possible route, environmental factors and how much a toll could cost.

"It just seems like a big waste of money," said Laura Bogue, who lives in a Lilburn neighborhood where the road could pass by. "I'm disappointed they would spend a lot of money on a feasibility study on a project that doesn't seem to be feasible."

While officials did not hear from the public Tuesday, Commissioner Shirley Lasseter said she considered feedback from e-mails and calls to her office.

"We're not trying to push this road through now," she said. "We are trying to see if we should (build it)."

Commissioner Mike Beaudreau, who represents the area, said he sees potential in the extension, which would give people in Snellville a direct route to I-85.

"Can you imagine if we didn't have Ronald Reagan Parkway how bad traffic would be on U.S. Highway 78 and Five Forks Trickum (Road) and (U.S.

Highway) 29?" he said. "This road is sorely needed."