Sandy Springs City Council is backing a grant request to fund the design of a dedicated turn lane serving some of the city’s largest private employers.

The proposed “slip ramp” would become part of the exit ramp from Ga. 400 south onto Abernathy Road. The slip ramp would be a dedicated turn lane for Newell Rubbermaid, Kaiser Permanente, UPS, Air Watch and First Data.

City Council during its Oct. 15 meeting approved a letter of support from City Manager John McDonough to the State Road and Tollway Authority. McDonough’s letter says the city of Sandy Springs supports the Perimeter Community Improvement Districts’ application for the $1.5 million grant.

Perimeter CIDs President and Chief Executive Officer Yvonne Williams said the design process would cost $2.2 million, and she’s hopeful the CID board will approve a $700,000 match.

Mayor Eva Galambos asked Williams to explain the concept of a slip ramp.

Williams said it would provide a way to separate the traffic of employees turning from Abernathy onto Glenlake Parkway.

“You would come south on Ga. 400 and you would have a dedicated lane that would take the curve adjacent to Abernathy going into Glenlake,” Williams said. “It would not interfere with Abernathy traffic.”

Before voting to approve the letter, City Councilman Gabriel Sterling asked Williams whether asking for a grant to cover nearly half of the design costs is realistic. Williams said she thinks SRTA will see the value of the project.

“If we ask for $1.5 million and we’re putting up $700,000, and the slip lane is very attractive for the Ga. 400 needs, we believe it’s a very competitive opportunity,” Williams said.

Sterling also asked if the PCIDs grant application would be in competition with an application the city is making for grant funds for realigning the intersection of Windsor Parkway and Roswell Road.

“The grant fund is a grant fund. It’ll be evaluated on a lot of merits, but I think we’ve got two separate projects,” Williams said.

In other business, City Council approved making an application for $750,000 in grant funds from the infrastructure bank and an application of a $2.75 million loan from the infrastructure bank. If approved, each would go toward financing the realignment of the Windsor Parkway and Roswell Road intersection. The city is realigning the road to accommodate an anticipated increase in traffic from a mixed-use apartment project City Council recently approved.

The interest rate of the loan, if approved, would be 2.4 percent. McDonough said the loan would be financed over 10 years and financed with impact fees from the developer, JLB Partners.

Council members asked if the city would be obligated to repay the loan if JLB defaults.

McDonough said the city is still working through the details, but would likely be responsible for paying off the debt.

“It’s our intent to have a separate agreement with the developer to deal with the debt service payment on this,” McDonough said. “It would be my belief that the city would be on the hook if we sign that loan agreement.”

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