The 8.3-mile stretch that Gwinnett officials are dreaming of adding to Sugarloaf Parkway may ultimately be a toll road.
The Gwinnett County Board of Commissioners voted Tuesday to apply for a $105 million federal grant to help pay for the proposed extension, which would stretch from the roadway’s eastern terminus at Ga. 316 near Dacula. It would cross Fence Road, Ga. 124 and I-85 before connecting to Peachtree Industrial Boulevard near Buford, completing a type of loop that would connect a sizable chunk of Gwinnett’s interior.
The grant, which would be sought through the federal Infrastructure for Rebuilding America program, would account for less than half of the total estimated price tag of about $285 million.
Most of the difference would be made up with $100 million of local funds — and another $75 million of “user fees.”
User fees = tolls.
“The new section is likely to be a toll road if it is to be open to traffic in the next five to eight years,” Gwinnett County spokesman Joe Sorenson said. “Otherwise, it will remain in long range planning with no certain date for completion.”
Gwinnett Department of Transportation director Alan Chapman said there’s currently no other way but tolling to fully fund the project.
“With all of the needs that we have countywide, whether it's resurfacing or bridges, road widenings, we just don't have enough local funds to put together the local funding for it,” Chapman said. “So we think tolling is a way to really close tha gap and get the project fully funded.”
How much potential tolls may cost was unclear. Chapman said already existing stretches of Sugarloaf Parkway would not become toll lanes.
“We do think it provides relief for people who may not chose to pay the poll and ride on Sugarloaf,” Chapman said, “because it's going to draw traffic off of some of the arterials and collectors around Sugarloaf.”
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