Dunwoody residents can expect lane closures early next month as bridge construction begins on I-285 over Glenridge Drive, Ga. 400, and Peachtree Dunwoody Road.
The bridge construction is part of the Georgia Department of Transportation’s Transform 285/400 project, which aims to reduce traffic congestion and enhance safety measures in the metro area. GDOT Project Manager Marlo Clowers gave an update for the timeline of this construction during a Sept. 27 Dunwoody City Council meeting.
Clowers said the first phase of construction will take place this year, and the two inside lanes on I-285 between Roswell Road and Ashford Dunwoody Road will be closed in both directions early next month in order to begin the process of demolishing and rebuilding the bridges. The westbound inside lanes will be closed starting Oct. 2, and the eastbound inside lanes will be closed starting Oct. 9.
“This first phase is currently planned to be in place through the end of the year, where at that time we will go into Phase 2,” Clowers said.
During Phase 2, traffic will be shifted to the inside lanes, and the outer lanes will be closed in both directions to continue bridge construction. Clowers said drivers can expect significant impacts to traffic patterns and longer travel times in the area during this time.
“We’re advising drivers to expect delays,” she said. “There’s also a higher potential for increases in accidents and crashes through the corridor while this is in place.”
GDOT also plans to close the southbound lanes of Glenridge Drive and the northbound lanes of Peachtree Dunwoody Road under the I-285 bridges to help with construction, said Clowers. The lanes will just be closed directly underneath the interstate, but stay open in both directions to the north and south.
Clowers said this closure is expected to go into place in mid-October at the earliest, lasting at least six weeks.
Clowers said because of the impact to traffic, GDOT has been coordinating with wayfinding apps, such as Google Maps and Waze. It also will use signs to let drivers know about the new traffic patterns.
The council expressed concern over how bad the traffic situation could get, with Councilmember Jim Riticher predicting the lane closures would result in a “bloody mess.” He asked Clowers if GDOT had done any traffic modeling to see what the situation could look like.
Clowers said due to some of the recently-opened lanes and ramps, GDOT anticipates the situation won’t be as bad as residents might expect.
“You may not believe what our modeling shows, but it shows that it’s not going to be as bad as we all think,” she said.
Councilmember John Heneghan expressed concern over how GDOT could make sure that Waze and other wayfinding apps wouldn’t direct too much traffic to smaller side streets that couldn’t handle the congestion. Clowers said while GDOT will provide the lane closures to Waze, they do not usually tell them how to decide which alternate routes drivers should take.
“We’re leaving that to their algorithms,” she said.
Councilmember Tom Lambert echoed Heneghan’s concerns, and said GDOT or the city should look into finding a way to control the traffic congestion on those neighborhood streets.
“I don’t know if that’s a GDOT function or our own Public Works, but we need to make sure that we mitigate that the best that we can,” he said.
For more information about the Transform 285/400 project, residents can visit GDOT’s website.