Officials vote to continue study of Ronald Reagan Parkway extension

LAWRENCEVILLE — Officials will take longer than expected to study a proposed extension to Ronald Reagan Parkway.

Commissioners extended an agreement with Skanska to study the possibility of using toll revenues for a project to continue the Snellville-to-Duluth connector to Interstate 85.

According to Transportation Director Brian Allen, the yearlong study has not concluded because of continuing discussions with state and federal transportation officials over the link the interstate.

“It’s a question of how you do it and how much it will cost,” he said, adding that a citizens advisory committee has agreed to continue its input into the research as well.

Once the logistics of the interchange have been determined, he said, Skanska can further determine whether a toll could cover the costs of construction.

“It seems like its been a little slow, but there are a lot of dynamics involved,” Commissioner Bert Nasuti said of the delay in the study. With the decision to extend the study to next summer, Nasuti, who did not seek re-election, will likely no longer get a vote on the matter.

“The problem is where to put it,” he said. “I’m still for us working on this, but the key is not putting it through subdivisions.”

Commissioners Shirley Lasseter, who splits representation of the area concerned with Nasuti, said she was concerned about the delay costing money, but learned that the county has yet to pay for the work. According to the agreement, the county will split costs with Skanska if commissioners decide against moving forward with the project. If it does go forward, the study cost will be enveloped into the toll.

“It’s just delaying the time to make sure we have everything in order as good as we need it to be,” Lasseter said.