The Sandy Springs City Council is calling for changes to some parts of the Georgia Department of Transportation’s toll lanes plan, including the planned flyover lanes at Northridge Road.
The City Council approved recommendations for Ga. 400 toll lanes at its June 18 meeting. The city’s desired changes are laid out in a letter to GDOT Commission Russell McMurry signed by Mayor Rusty Paul.
“We feel the recommendations in this letter are feasible and possible,” the letter said. “We are supportive of your efforts to progress positive change and appreciate your willingness to work with us to minimize unnecessary negative impacts.”
The recommendations, which were presented by Councilmember John Paulson, call for changes to the planned toll lanes on the Ga. 400 section of the project, which runs north of the North Springs MARTA Station.
The city is calling for building the toll lanes underneath the Northridge Road bridge instead of building flyover lanes. Residents there are concerned the flyover lanes would change the character of the area and bring more noise and pollution. The lanes would go over the bridge to move from the outside of the regular lanes to the center of them. The change would mean the lanes would have to move to the center south of Northridge.
GDOT has said going underneath would be costly because the recently built bridge would have to be made wider to accommodate all the lanes.
Paulson said GDOT originally considered building the lanes in the center south of Northridge, but changed the plan after concerns from the Fulton County School System.
Patrick Burke, the school district’s chief operating officer, said in a written statement that Fulton Schools is “assessing the potential impact.” Burke said staff is reviewing Sandy Springs’ recommendations, but has not taken a position.
The letter also calls for closing Pitts Road to rebuild it. GDOT plans to build a new Pitts Road bridge as part of the project and keep the existing one open during construction. But to do that, the new bridge would be shifted, requiring four houses to be demolished. The road would need to be closed for around six months, but it would save the houses, Paulson said.
Closing Pitts Road was an option GDOT presented at its open house meetings.
The recommendations also ask GDOT to keep sound barriers up as long as possible and construct new barriers as quickly as possible to protect residents from increased noise.