By John Schaffner
editor@reporternewspapers.net

For almost 30 years, Kathy Glenn has lived along Johnson Ferry Road in the Hampton Hall subdivision — in an area of unincorporated north DeKalb County sometimes called Brookhaven and sometimes called North Atlanta.

For about 20 of those years, Glenn has wondered when there might be sidewalks along the two-lane road that is heavily traveled by commuters from as far away as Cobb County. They follow the route from Sandy Springs, through the hospital district at Johnson Ferry and Peachtree-Dunwoody roads, and through Brookhaven to other DeKalb locales.

Finally, about a year ago, her dream for a safe walking area along the road started to become a reality. But work in earnest really began a few months ago.

Crews are putting in new water and sewer lines and gutters and curbing along with the sidewalk on one side of Johnson Ferry, extending from Ashford-Dunwoody Road to near where Nancy Creek crosses the road.

The project includes 5,600 lineal feet of new water main, 4,250 feet of storm drain pipe, and valley gutter and curbing totaling 5,600 lineal feet.

The work is part of $26 million that DeKalb approved for sidewalk construction along high-priority arterial and collector streets, leading to schools, parks and community centers.

In connection with the project, 1.1 miles of Johnson Ferry Road also will be repaved from Ashford-Dunwoody Road to near where Nancy Creek crosses Johnson Ferry. That is part of a 2005 Transportation Bond Program. According to documents on DeKalb County’s Web site, the resurfacing is projected to cost just under $650,000.

“I was told it will be finished by March,” Glenn said. But she added that the crews stop at 3 p.m. on the days they are working at the project in order not to disrupt rush-hour commuter traffic.

Also, workdays have been limited by the many days when it has rained the past few months.

According to a spokesman for the DeKalb Transportation Department, the projected completion of the work is April 21, weather permitting.

At the moment, large portions of that stretch along Johnson Ferry Road are simply torn up and have been for some time. Glenn said one thing that puzzles her is that the crews seem to be working from both ends of the project, so the middle apparently will be torn up for some time awaiting completion of the work.

Glenn said she has lost gas service twice and water service five times during the construction — for several hours each time.

“But I hate to complain because we have waited so long for the sidewalks,” she added.

Glenn said Johnson Ferry definitely needs resurfacing, since she believes the last time the road was paved in that area was 1980 to 1982.

Responding to a question about complaints from residents in the area related to their front yards being torn up for a long period during the construction, Ron Sprinkle, the newly elected president of the Ashford Alliance Community Association, said: “Sometimes you have to be careful of what you ask for. It may not always be what you hoped for.”