State transportation officials plan to choose in December the contractors who will build the $1.05 billion highway interchange planned for the meeting of I-285 and Ga. 400.

State transportation officials say construction on the project could begin in late 2016 or early 2017. The work is to be completed in 2020.

Sandy Springs resident Bob Splude at a public meeting on proposed changes to the Ga. 400/I-285 interchange.

The project will add collector-distributor lanes to better move traffic through the interchange, state officials have said. Making room for the added lanes will require purchasing some land, officials said, but the only structures expected to be removed are an office building and a parking lot on Lake Hearn Drive, according to proposals shown during public meetings in Sandy Springs and Dunwoody this week.

The biggest change reflected in the Georgia Department of Transportation’s most recent plans, said Mario Clowers, GDOT project manager, was the addition of a bike path through portions of the interchange. When completed, the path will allow bike connections between PATH400 in Buckhead and a planned path alongside a portion of Peachtree-Dunwoody Road, she said.

During the public meetings, four associations of contractors presented summaries of their proposals for designing, building and partially financing the project. More than 70 people attended the first two meetings, officials with the Georgia Department of Transportation said.

Sandy Springs resident Bob Splude, who attended one of the two sessions at Dunwoody First Baptist Church, said he knew the work was necessary to deal with traffic troubles in the area, but “I’m still concerned as to whether this is going to address problems on [nearby] surface streets,” he said.

“Hammond Drive, Abernathy Road and Peachtree-Dunwoody can turn into parking lots at 5 o’clock,” he 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.