The Dunwoody City Council approved Sept. 12 a $500,000 grant agreement program with the Georgia Transportation Infrastructure Bank for preliminary engineering of the Westside Connector.

Dunwoody city officials say plans are underway to develop a $20 million connector road coming off I-285, going under Ashford-Dunwoody Road and connecting with Perimeter Center Parkway.

“Preliminary engineering is essentially the overall project analysis and design work done at the beginning of a project to produce construction plans, specifications and some further project cost estimates,” said Director of Communications Bob Mullen.

This work also may include engineering surveys and traffic analysis, reviewing potential funding commitments and refining potential construction schedules and costs, he said.

“Following the preliminary engineering phase, the next step is a final design which brings the plans to full completion,” Mullen said.

The grant enables the city to help address traffic congestion and expand options for vehicles entering and leaving the Perimeter market and supports the state’s investment in the I-285 and State Route 400 interchange aimed at reducing freeway congestion in the area, he said.

The Westside Connector could take some 700 cars off Ashford-Dunwoody Road and Hammond Drive. Talk of the Westside Connector began in 2014 when developers began showing interest in building major projects in the Perimeter. Having a road that runs parallel to Hammond Drive provides benefit to the city and the developments, such as the State Farm complex.

“The goal of the project is to improve mobility and connectivity by creating a connector road coming off I-285 west going underneath Ashford-Dunwoody Road and eventually connecting with Perimeter Center Parkway. In addition, the project includes a parallel multi-use path for bicycle and pedestrian access connecting various commercial properties with the Dunwoody MARTA station,” said Mullen.