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Woodstock interchange provides economic growth

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WOODSTOCK, Ga. -

An intersection more than 30 years in the making is kick starting growth in one Cherokee County city. This past winter, Woodstock added the Ridgewalk Parkway exit to Interstate 575, and now a 370,000 square foot outlet mall plans to call the intersection home.

The first correspondence requesting a new interchange goes back to 1976, so it's some 36 years in the making before they even started the interchange. The delay was funding, but Woodstock mayors and city council members never gave up and in November, they opened the busy exit, relieving congestion to some 35,000 drivers along I-575.

"It's very helpful. We get off at Sixes Road and it was really, really backed up and so now with that, it makes it much easier, plus there is more lanes," said driver Debbie Green.

Leaders say the new exit is also bringing a boom to the city, including the new 370,000 square foot outlet mall -- Outlet Shoppes at Atlanta.

"As soon as the intersection was a done deal and they started breaking ground, that's when the deal was made on the outlet mall," said Woodstock mayor Donnie Henriques.

The shopping center is expected to open this summer, and is expected to bring in many jobs.

"It's going to create about 1,300 full time jobs, 200 of them will be management-type jobs and about 1600 seasonal jobs," said Henriques.

They've already seen a housing market surge because of the intersection, and they expect even more homes to be built nearby. More rooftops mean more customers, and it's all because local lawmakers had a vision.

The Georgia Department of Transportation contracted out the $17.1 million intersection. The Georgia General Assembly approved a resolution to name the Ridgewalk interchange after Bill Long, the Woodstock mayor who first pushed for the improvements in 1976.

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