The Cherokee County Board of Commissioners officially decided to close Union Hill Road between Arbor Hill Road and the Fulton County line to through truck traffic at its most recent meeting.
The board of commissioners looked into updating the roads included on its “no thru trucks” road list. Among the roads included for potential addition were Union Hill Road, Sam Nelson Road, North Industrial Way, Toonigh Road, Batesville Road, Elwin Ragsdale Way and James Road. All of those up for review except for Union Hill Road were approved for inclusion on the list, while the commissioners agreed they wanted to take a closer look at Union Hill Road before making a decision on its inclusion or exclusion.
“The situation on Union Hill Road is, for one thing, there are two bridges that currently do not allow heavy truck traffic on the section that is to the north of Lower Union Hill Road,” Commission Chairman Harry Johnston said. “So, trucks really cannot traverse that section anyway, although those bridges are slated to be replaced over the next few years. That will allow those trucks, in the absence of a condition restriction, to use that northern section of Union Hill Road.”
When looking at the county as a whole, Johnston said that putting a restriction on all of Union Hill Road, which would also essentially close off Arbor Hill Road to truck traffic, would lead to a sizable portion of the county not allowing any truck traffic. As a result, this would mean trucks trying to get from areas near the Forsyth County line to Hickory Flat and other points south on Georgia Highway 140 would have to take a more roundabout course. Two of the potential alternate routes Johnston said he could see included going all the way to Canton, then using Northside Cherokee Boulevard to get to Highway 140, or taking Georgia Highway 372 to the roundabout intersection with Crabapple Road to reach Highway 140 in Fulton County.
One thing Commissioner Ray Gunnin brought up was that area farmers have voiced their concerns about the impact this could have on them, as closing Union Hill Road in its entirety would make it more difficult for them to easily get their produce between the Free Home community and the Hickory Flat area. Keeping this in mind, the board looked into several options, such as possibly creating some sort of exemption for farm trucks, or perhaps amending the restriction to allow for slightly longer trucks to use the roads on the list.
Under the motion that was unanimously passed by the board, Union Hill Road east of Arbor Hill Road will be closed to through truck traffic, while Union Hill Road west of Arbor Hill Road remains open to trucks. While Arbor Hill Road and the western portions of Union Hill Road are still open, Commissioner Steve West said he understands concerns raised by residents of Arbor Hill Road regarding trucks using the road, especially with portions of the road having less than ideal sight distance. As such, he said he would like to see the county go back and examine Arbor Hill Road again, perhaps as early as this summer, to potentially consider its inclusion or exclusion from the list the next time the board of commissioners moves to update the “no through trucks” list.