By Amy Wenk
Around 2 p.m. March 23, Sandy Springs residents John and Teri Xerogeanes and their two children Thea, 4, and Rocco, 2 1/2, walked their dog Kimba from their home in Brookhaven Lakes to the Peachtree-Dunwoody Road bridge over Nancy Creek.
The family came to celebrate the reopening of the bridge that failed when September floodwaters undermined the center support.
The city of Sandy Springs held a 2 p.m. ribbon cutting. Afterwards, Mayor Eva Galambos took a drive with Dist. 5 Councilman Tibby DeJulio for television cameras, but the bridge officially opened to motorists later in the afternoon.
“It’s open!” Sandy Springs spokesperson Tisa Moore wrote in an email at about 4:45 p.m.
About 18,000 cars a day use Peachtree-Dunwoody Road, which connects Sandy Springs, Buckhead and Brookhaven.
The Xerogeanes family was glad to see the bridge reopen.
“We do everything in Buckhead,” said Teri, explaining the extra time it took to go grocery shopping or take the kids to school during the six months the bridge was closed. “This is a godsend. We are so excited to have the bridge open.”
Nate Bednar, pastor of Metropolitan Baptist Church, was another happy pedestrian who joined the ribbon cutting on the north side of the bridge.
While the bridge was closed, Bednar said fewer people made it to Sunday services at his church, which sits on Peachtree-Dunwoody Road between the bridge and Windsor Parkway.
“Having the bridge open again will be a big positive,” Bednar said.
Sandy Springs resident Debbie Proctor said she is thrilled that the new bridge includes 5.5-foot-wide sidewalks on both sides.
“Before, if you wanted to cross the bridge, you had to take a deep breath and run,” said Proctor, who lives in a nearby neighborhood off Peachtree-Dunwoody Road.
She said now there is better sidewalk access from the hospital center in Sandy Springs to Peachtree Road in Buckhead.
“We’re thrilled that it’s opening,” Proctor said. “I’m very impressed they were able to come in under schedule.”
Mark McKinnon, a spokesman with the Georgia Department of Transportation who attended the bridge opening ceremony, said similar projects usually 18 months to two years to complete.
“It was a really good coordination between everybody,” McKinnon said.
The $1 million project was completed using emergency funds from the federal Highway Administration, Sandy Springs Director of Public Works Tom Black said.