By Amy Wenk
Sandy Springs officials in recent months have discussed options to improve Morgan Falls Road.
The road is the only access to the city’s new Overlook Park, which is scheduled to open in July.
But the current road is too narrow in some places for two cars to pass, and park construction has torn up the surface of the asphalt.
Dist. 4 Councilwoman Ashley Jenkins said it’s even a bumpy, difficult drive in her SUV.
Director of Public Works Tom Black talked about options to improve the road at a May 18 City Council meeting.
He said it isn’t going to be an easy task.
City Council wants to allocate $1.5 million in next year’s budget for the road project, which will widen the two-lane road by up to six feet in some areas. Part of the design also will add a multi-use trail to increase pedestrian and bicycle access to Overlook Park.
“We want to lead the roadway with a trail,” Black said.
The project will be completed in phases.
A survey of the topography soon will be complete, Black said, and work on the design should begin.
But transportation engineers said Morgan Falls Road may be the city’s most challenging road project. The city foresees difficulty in obtaining the necessary permits.
“We are going to have to go through everybody known to man,” Black said to get the documents that allow the road to be widened. There are a variety of landowners alongside Morgan Falls Road, which Black said complicates the permitting process.
Georgia Power owns the hydroelectric dam at the end of the road and land surrounding it.
Colonial Pipeline owns land where its sewer easements lay near the Chattahoochee River.
Fulton County owns the landfill site that sits below the golf course off Morgan Falls Road.
Black said it was discovered that the county owns a small, trapezoidal piece of land north of the landfill that crosses Morgan Falls Road.
That means the county, rather than the city, must apply for a permit from the state Environmental Protection Division for Sandy Springs to proceed on road improvements on that segment of the road.
“Fulton County may have recaptured Morgan Falls Road,” Black said. “They own it now. That is just what they announced this afternoon” during a meeting between the city and the county.
“It was another issue we weren’t expecting until this morning,” said city transportation engineer Greg Ramsey.
He said the situation is changing everyday on the project.
Meetings with Colonial Pipeline and Georgia Power are scheduled this month, Black said.
“There are going to be a lot of people who are going to try to stop it,” Black said. But there is also support for the road project, he said.