The city of Dunwoody is moving forward with design plans aimed to help traffic congestion at the intersection of Chamblee-Dunwoody and Womack roads after the City Council expressed support at its Aug. 24 meeting.
The city plans to add a left-turn lane on Womack for turning onto Chamblee-Dunwoody and to extend an existing left-turn lane on Chamblee-Dunwoody to Ashford Center Parkway.
Currently, there is only one lane on Womack for going straight, right and left, which causes traffic congestion, city officials said. The existing left-turn lane on Chamblee-Dunwoody also tends to overflow during rush hours.
The plan would improve sight distance for turning right from Womack to Chamblee-Dunwoody by regrading the slope and reconfiguring a retaining wall at the southeast area of the intersection. Currently, right turns are not allowed at red lights because of the limited view for drivers.
A pedestrian crossing with signals would be added at the south side of the intersection, and a 4-foot-wide sidewalk on Chamblee-Dunwoody would be widened by 1 foot, according to the concept plans. The project also includes improving stormwater drainage.
The city contracted with engineering firm AECOM to create the concept plan for the intersection.
The design and construction plans are slated to be finalized by the end of the year, and utility relocation would start in 2021, according to a memo about the project to the council.
Public Works Director Michael Smith told the council during the Aug. 24 meeting that it’s too early in the project for a cost estimate for construction, but it may be about a $2 million project. At the earliest, construction would start in late 2021, according to the memo.
The city completed a public input process for the design during the month of July. Out of the more than 160 comments received, Smith said, over 120 supported the project.
Smith said the biggest challenges for construction will be widening Womack for the left-turn lane, relocating utilities and adding a retaining wall on that road near the Dunwoody branch of the DeKalb County Public Library.
The retaining wall would be far enough back from the road to give the city the option to add a right turn lane on Womack in the future, Smith said.
Councilmember Tom Lambert requested that pedestrian access from Womack into the library property be added to the retaining wall, which Smith said will be considered as the design plans are finalized.
Councilmember Stacey Harris suggested the wall could be a good location for public art projects.
Councilmember Joe Seconder and Mayor Lynn Deutsch suggested the sidewalk could be widened to 6 feet, but Smith said that may be too costly with relocating more utilities.
Seconder also asked about potentially adding a green arrow signal to the left turn on Womack, but Smith said previous traffic studies have shown that would make the “overall intersection work less efficiently.”