NORTH FULTON COUNTY, Ga. — After more than a decade, a popular bike race will have to find a new home.
The Georgia 400 Hospitality Highway Ride traditionally has shut down the highway for a brief period on a Sunday morning in June so that hundreds of cyclists could participate in the event, which starts at Holcomb Bridge Road in Roswell and heads south to Northridge Road in Sandy Springs.
“It’s only one of two in the nation that you’re allowed to ride on a freeway,” said Eric Broadwell, race director.
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Broadwell said the race, which benefits the Emory Heart and Vascular Center, has served as an economic engine for the entire north metro area during its tenure.
“We have people that come from 13 states,” Broadwell told Channel 2′s Mike Petchenik. “I’ve got people calling me from Charlotte, they’re bringing a huge group down. People coming from Alabama, Tennessee, Mississippi, Florida, a bunch of people come up.”
Broadwell said the Georgia Department of Transportation has informed the charity ride it will have to find a new home because of a large construction project set to begin on the highway.
“Pretty sad,” he said. “It’s like the ride is retiring.”
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GDOT spokesperson, Natalie Dale, said the project will span 16 miles from I-285 up to McFarland Parkway in Forsyth County.
“The project that we’ll be starting is going to be one of our major mobility investment program projects,” she said. “That is the Georgia 400 Express Lanes project, that will be part of our larger express lane network.”
Dale said it wouldn’t be safe for cyclists to travel through a construction zone once the work begins.
“We certainly didn’t want to be sort of the negative in this situation in such a positive situation,” she said. “But unfortunately, you just can’t do an event of this size through an active construction zone.”
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The project website says GDOT will take public comment about the proposals through July 3, 2021.
This year’s race will take place Sunday, June 27 and begin at 7 a.m.
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