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Three routes considered for extension of Reagan Parkway

Photo by Michael Buckelew

Photo by Michael Buckelew

ATLANTA -- A citizens committee has narrowed the proposed Ronald Reagan Parkway extension to three routes, and officials are studying the costs and feasibility, Gwinnett Transportation Director Brian Allen said Wednesday.

During a meeting about the state's proposed public-private partnerships, Allen briefed State Transportation Board members about the county's efforts, which began with a pre-development agreement last September.

Partners with Skanska are working on feasibility efforts for the project, including whether tolls could fund the extension, which would link the parkway to Interstate 85.

"To this point, Gwinnett County has spent zero dollars," Allen said of the agreement, which includes a cost-sharing split only if the project is determined to not be in the county's best interest. "If there is no feasibility to move forward, then we will be on the hook for some money."

While environment and traffic studies would be more detailed in the next phase, Allen said a technical team is already looking into possible costs, and the citizens committee is analyzing the routes, which could lead through wetlands and neighborhoods.

"It really brings the south end of our county ... into that corridor," said Rudy Bowen, who represents most of Gwinnett on the board.

David Doss, who headed the public-private partnership committee meeting, said the project will have an impact on the state, but the county is ahead of the curve in pursuing private funding for road building.

"I think what they are doing is pretty exciting stuff," he said. "I think perhaps there is an opportunity to dovetail into what Gwinnett is least going to talk about."

The predevelopment study will continue through the end of the year, before officials will decide whether to move forward.

More information can be found at www.reaganextension.com.