By Victoria Necessary
More than 50 concerned north Brookhaven residents attended the May 21 meeting of the Ashford Alliance Community Association (AACA) to hear a presentation of the Revive285 project of the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT), which includes the widening of I-285 at the Ashford-Dunwoody Road interchange.
Representing the GDOT program at the meeting, held at St. Martin in the Fields Episcopal Church on Ashford-Dunwoody Road, were Arcadis project manager Frank Danchetz and deputy manager Tim Preece. The contractors addressed current plans for improvements to the top end of the Perimeter, which could affect those in Brookhaven north of Peachtree Road.
AACA President Ron Sprinkle opened the meeting and immediately turned over the program to the Arcadis representatives, who began their briefing by handing out a six-page color brochure detailing and mapping eight proposed improvements to I-285.
Most of the proposals had been identified by the Atlanta Regional Commission.
Alternatives 1 and 4 in the presentation were classified as no-build, low-cost options, while most of the remaining alternatives could cost $100 million or more per mile in construction costs.
Alternative 2 in the handout, which also was classified as a low-cost option, suggests the conversion of two general purpose lanes into “managed” or toll lanes, the addition of bus routes, increased bus service frequency, additional options for carpools and vanpools, bicycle and pedestrian facilities, and increased use of traveler information devices.
It was pointed out that a recent television news report referred to this option as a “push to convert I-285 HOV lanes into toll lanes.”
The remaining “high-cost” build options propose toll lanes, a bus rapid transit (BRT) system on elevated lanes, and the possibility of a light-rail train (LRT) similar to the successful LRT operation in Charlotte, N.C.
Residents at the AACA meeting asked about right-of-way issues and the construction problems of a major capital improvement project in their backyards.
Eric Hovdesven questioned whether residents “would get a chance to look at right-of-way plans and if there would be opportunity to influence final plans.”
The Arcadis staff representing GDOT assured residents that engineering costs and concepts are still being worked out and that an environmental impact statement (EIS) is in the works. The opportunity to voice concerns and keep abreast of all progress concerning the I-285 project is available to the public by visiting www.revive285.com or www.ashfordalliance.org.
Also, affected DeKalb County residents have at least two more public meetings to view updated proposals for the roadway improvements.
Those at the meeting were told they could find out what their neighbors are saying about the plans by visiting www.revive285.com and reviewing the Citizen Input Summary and Survey results.
To view the handout with all eight proposed options, visit this story at www.reporternewspapers.net.