A long-awaited bicycle and pedestrian bridge between Roswell and Sandy Springs could start construction in two years, but it will cost the city another $56,000.
Roswell has requested that Sandy Springs provide an additional $56,077.50 in preliminary engineering funds for environmental and design costs, which should be the last of the money needed for a design, according to the Roswell Department of Transportation.
“I come away from this meeting truly elated after hearing about this for 10 years to see this come to fruition,” District 1 Councilmember John Paulson said at the Aug. 20 council meeting where the funding was approved. “So, hallelujah, let’s go.”
The bridge will run directly parallel to the Roswell Road Bridge over the Chattahoochee River, with trails connecting the two cities at Azalea Drive in Roswell and Roberts Drive in Sandy Springs.
The amount represents a 50/50 split with Roswell on the $112,155 increase in costs, adhering to the original agreement signed in 2010.
With the additional money, Rob Dell-Ross, deputy director of Roswell DOT, says he is confident that the design of the project can now be completed and construction will begin in two years.
“We are optimistic that this is the last time we will be looking for additional design money,” Dell-Ross said. “We actually only have one parcel in right of way acquisition located in Sandy Springs…We will be able to start right of way acquisition in fall of 2020.”
The increase in design costs comes from a new requirement the Georgia Department of Transportation has for approving a National Environmental Policy Act document. GDOT is now requiring a supplement to a History Survey addendum and National Historic Preservation Act addendum, according to city documents.
“[The project] likely has high levels of environmental clearance both due to its location and funding source,” Natalie Dale, Communications Director for GDOT, said.
Roswell originally asked GDOT to cover half of the additional fee due to the new requirement, but the request was denied.
Over 11 years ago, a federal earmark of $3 million was granted for the project, which will cover about half of the construction, according to city staff.
In the next couple of months, the cities will seek additional funding of about $2.5 million from the Atlanta Regional Committee Transportation Improvement Program. The program allocates federal funds for the use in construction of the “highest priority” projects in the Regional Transportation Plan, which is described as the “long-term transportation vision” for the region.
If approved, that would fund up to 80 percent of the funding gap needed and the two cities would split the remaining percent for the remainder of the funds needed.
Previously, Sandy Springs obligated $100,000 for preliminary engineering and $322,572.50 for construction for a total funding amount of $422,572.50.
The agreement was last revised in November 2014, when the city increased the preliminary engineering by $50,000 based on a proposal by the city of Roswell to support a $100,000 increase in environmental studies costs.