The Sandy Springs City Council discussed Oct. 14 using some state funds designated for studying a tunnel under I-285 to reconfigure the Roswell Road bridge over the interstate instead.

The Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) has allocated $2 million for the city to study a tunnel that would be built in conjunction with GDOT’s planned overhaul of the northern part of I-285. The environmental analysis alone for that project won’t be complete until December 2009.

The city has to match the funds with $400,000.

Mayor Eva Galambos called the bridge reconfiguration “a Band-Aid for now.”

The center lane of the bridge now is split into two left-turn lanes onto I-285: one for northbound traffic and one for southbound traffic. The plan is to create a full, dedicated turn lane in each direction, along with one northbound travel lane and two southbound travel lanes.

The project, which the council likely will vote on Oct. 21, would take 18 months and result in faster travel times over the bridge, said Keith Kunst, an engineer from Arcadis, which was contracted for the project.

He said the better flow also would ease traffic on corridors such as Lake Forrest and Glenridge drives.

— Gerhard Schneibel