Expanding Hwy 20 would not decrease traffic congestion. According to transportation planners, widening existing roads increases traffic congestion in the long term. This phenomenon is known as “induced demand.”
Expanding Hwy 20 would spur rapid and dense development including multi-family housing and strip malls. Rapid residential development would overcrowd schools and lead to school attendance zone redistricting, cutting residents off from their neighborhood schools. Urbanization also results in higher crime and lower property values.
Expanding Hwy 20 would increase tractor-trailer traffic and make Hwy 20 more dangerous. The proposed widening between Canton and Cumming is part of a larger GDOT plan to re-route freight traffic around Atlanta by way of a “northern arc” to accommodate increasing traffic from the port at Savannah. More tractor-trailers on Hwy 20 are a danger to local residents and commuters. For more information on the Northern Arc, click here.
From the Atlanta Regional Freight Mobility Plan (2016), pg 138:
Expanding Hwy 20 would increase air and noise pollution, which cause health issues. Studies show numerous health risks associated with increased traffic pollution, including a higher risk of asthma and allergies, childhood cancers, dementia, and stress. Property values of those homes closest to the highway would suffer.
Expanding Hwy 20 would have massive environmental impacts, and GDOT and the state legislature have circumvented federal environmental regulations through clever project design that exploits a loophole in Georgia law created by Senator Brandon Beach himself.