Work on a controversial project to build roundabouts at the Riverside Drive/I-285 interchange in Sandy Springs will begin Feb. 1, weather permitting, and continue through November, according to the state Department of Transportation.

The $5.6 million project will replace ramps with roundabouts and rehab the Riverside Drive bridge over 285. GDOT says the roundabouts will be safer, while many local residents have expressed doubts they will improve traffic. According to GDOT, 73 crashes occurred in the interchange in 2008 through 2012, with 16 of those accidents causing injuries.

Construction will take place both day and night, but lane closures will only take place on weeknights from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m., and on the weekends from 8 p.m. to 10 a.m. One travel lane will remain open at all times, except during bridge maintenance work, when all lanes in each direction will close and a detour will be in place.

The project, conducted by Baldwin Paving Company, will convert the existing signalized ramp intersections to single lane roundabouts. Two lanes will feed into the roundabout, with one lane used to enter the roundabout and one lane used as a right-turn lane. The project also includes sidewalks on both sides of Riverside Drive.

Last month, GDOT gave different project schedule information that apparently was in error, including that work would continue into 2018.

A Georgia Department of Transportation illustration of the roundabouts proposed for Riverside Drive’s access to I-285.

John Ruch

John Ruch is an Atlanta-based journalist. Previously, he was Managing Editor of Reporter Newspapers.