Several Sandy Springs residents who recently looked over plans for a new network of roads connecting portions of Ga. 400 to I-285 welcomed the change, but dreaded living through the work needed to build the new collector and distributor lanes.
“The things they are proposing make good sense,” said John Maynard, who lives nearby in Sandy Springs. “The only concern is the actual implementation. … I’ll have to find some way to deal with that. Perhaps work from home more.”
Georgia Department of Transportation officials say they now are wrapping a project to build collector/distributor lanes along Ga. 400 into the much larger project that will reconfigure the interchange of Ga. 400 and I-285.
That project, now estimated to cost about $900 million altogether, proposes adding bridges to the interchange so it will tower five levels. Construction crews will reconfigure exits and entrances on the highways from west of Roswell Road to east of Ashford Dunwoody Road and from the Glenridge Connector to Hammond Drive. About 400,000 cars a day now travel through the interchange, GDOT officials have said.
A public hearing on the project is likely to be held early next year, GDOT officials said. Construction is tentatively scheduled to begin in 2016 and end in 2019.
At Hammond Drive, the larger project ties into older plans that would add connector/distributor roads along Ga. 400 from north of Spalding Drive to I-285.
The idea behind the project is to separate local traffic from through traffic along the stretch of Ga. 400 from I-285 to Spalding, GDOT says. “This separation would reduce the issues currently experienced between high-speed freeway traffic and lower-speed local traffic, including the potential for accidents and congestion,” GDOT said in a project factsheet.
Project manager Marlo Clowers said the collector/distributor lanes “should alleviate weaving” by reducing the area shared by drivers trying to exit Ga. 400 and those heading south or north. “This is taking that out,” she said.
Both projects were discussed during three public meetings held at Dunwoody Baptist Church in August.
“It’s interesting,” Dunwoody City Councilman Jim Ritcher said as he looked over the wall-sized maps showing how the proposed new network of lanes along Ga. 400 would interconnect with the highways and local streets. “Hopefully, what it means for Dunwoody is more people use I-285 and Ga. 400, and fewer of them cut through Dunwoody. Anything that helps traffic on I-285 and Ga. 400 will help us.”
David Centofanti, president of the Northridge Community Association, thought the collector/distributor lanes could help traffic through the interchange, but also said he thought they “seem to catch you off guard.”
Missing an exit could mean driving for miles before a driver would have a chance to turn around and correct the mistake, he said.
Still, he said he thought he’d get used to the new road configuration. “Any design using modern technology has got to be better,” he said.