Rosanne and Harry Lutz examine illustrations showing the turn lanes proposed for Mount Vernon and Vermack roads. They viewed the renderings during a public meeting on June 17.

Harry Lutz welcomed the idea that Dunwoody city officials were considering doing something about the traffic backups at the intersection of Mount Vernon and Vermack roads.

“It’s clear something needs to be done,” Lutz said. “All of us have sat at that intersection for a while. It’s encouraging they’re planning to do something.”

City officials presented several possible fixes to the intersection during a public meeting that drew about 80 people, including Mayor Mike Davis, city council members and other city officials, to St. Luke’s Presbyterian Church on June 17.

Three proposals included adding central left-turn lanes to Mount Vernon and Vermack. They differed in how long to make the turn lanes on Mount Vernon or whether to move a power pole away from the intersection.

A proposal to build a traffic circle at the intersection also was presented, but wasn’t seriously considered. City officials said the roundabout wouldn’t be effective in eliminating traffic backups.

Carlos Bouffier, left, and Henry Staats discuss turn lanes proposed for Mount Vernon and Vermack roads.

City officials said the three projects being considered were expected to cost $900,000 to $1.1 million each. The proposals are expected to be presented to the council in July, Dunwoody Public Works Director Michael Smith said. Work could begin in 2014, he said.

Not everyone agreed the work needed to be done. Some argued the project would primarily benefit commuters from Gwinnett County.

Harry and Janet Butcher said they have lived nearby for 35 years and never seen an accident there.

“I think the whole thing is crazy,” Harry Butcher said. “It’s a problem only the few hours of rush hour. The other 20 hours of the day, it’s not a problem.”

“It’s like they have the money and they have to spend it,” Janet Butcher said.

And Tony Delmichi, a member of the city’s Community Council, argued the work would create “a $2 million parking lot.”

“It’s a waste of money,” he said.

Others disagreed.

“It’s such a severe problem that it’s good to see solutions,” resident Henry Staats said.

Joe Earle

Joe Earle is Editor-at-Large. He has more than 30-years of experience with daily newspapers, including the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and was Managing Editor of Reporter Newspapers.