Sandy Springs’ Spalding Drive/Pitts Road intersection would be widened with new dedicated turn lanes and a new sidewalk in a concept presented by the city Jan. 25.

A conceptual design map displayed at the Jan. 25 meeting shows Pitts Road running down the center and Spalding Drive running along the bottom. The black areas are the new turn lanes. The yellow and green stripe on Pitts is a new sidewalk and grass berm. The red lines show right of way. (John Ruch)

About 10 residents attended the open house presentation at City Hall. Some agreed the intersection needs improvement, but several had concerns about the loss of trees and property-taking the concept would require.

The intersection is close to the Dunwoody border and about 1,000 feet east of the Pitts Road overpass on Ga. 400. Both streets currently have two lanes there, with Pitts ending at Spalding in a wide, Y-shaped intersection with a traffic light. Rush-hour traffic stacks up behind drivers waiting to make a left-hand turn. And, city engineers say, it can be dangerous, with 21 accidents reported there in the past four years.

The city’s concept is to add an 11-foot-wide turn lane to both streets – eastbound on Pitts and heading northeast on Spalding. An upgraded traffic light with left-turn phases would be installed.

On Pitts, the existing travel lane would become left-turn only, and the new lane, running about 300 feet long, would be for right turns. On Spalding, the existing travel lane also would become left-turn only, with the additional lane serving through-traffic.

In the concept, a new sidewalk is paired with the new Pitts lane, partly filling an existing gap. There is no sidewalk on the east side of Spalding, and the concept does not include adding one along the new lane there.

Another view of the Spalding Drive/Pitts Road intersection concept map. (John Ruch)

Both new lanes would require taking some property from the yards of adjacent homes, not only for the lane, but for a 12-foot-wide right of way. The projected impacts are greatest on the east side of Spalding where a steep slope in homeowners’ yards would have to be re-graded and several driveways rebuilt, with the work extending even farther than the standard right of way. The work there would also mean relocating cable and gas utility lines, and clear-cutting many trees .

Some residents had concerns about all of those impacts, as well as possible greater risks for children in crossing a wider intersection.

Any parts of the concept could change based on public input and a deeper examination that would come if the project moves head to a design stage. The City Council will decided whether it should move ahead, likely at a meeting in March or April, officials said.

If the project moves ahead, construction could start in mid-2019 and last about six months, the city says. The work would require lane closures, but the intersection would remain open during construction.

The intersection is one of many around Sandy Springs targeted for improvement under a transportation special local option sales tax. This particular project has no set budget yet, as it is still in the conceptual stage, according to city spokesperson Sharon Kraun.

For more information or to submit comments via the city’s Call Center, click here.

Another Dunwoody/Sandy Springs border intersection on the TSPLOST project list is Dunwoody Club Drive and Jett Ferry Road, which has a public meeting coming up on Feb. 8.

John Ruch

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

2 replies on “New turn lanes proposed for Sandy Springs’ Spalding/Pitts intersection”

  1. Put a cop at the intersection to ticket those who go thru red lights and the accidents will drop !
    I urge those in charge to study this more as i think these “fixes” will cause more problems further on down spalding at Roberts drive. This will just shift traffic from Pitts to Spalding which is horrendous already.
    Make Spalding 4 lanes from Roswell to Roberts—STUDY THAT !

  2. Do not make spalding 4 lanes from roswell to roberts. That just invites more traffic and further clogs up the road. We don’t to widen every road as a solution. The road is empty 97% of the time. Modest improvements are all that is needed

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