The Fulton County Schools district is making its disagreement with the Georgia Department of Transportation’s proposed Georgia 400 express lanes and bus rapid transit project official.
“We oppose any plans by GDOT regarding this project that negatively impact our schools,” district Superintendent Mike Looney, Ed.D., said, referring to the state’s decision to build the lanes on both sides of 400, near Dunwoody Springs and Woodland elementary schools, both in Sandy Springs. “The safety and security of students, staff and community members who utilize these elementary schools is of paramount concern.”
At the Fulton Board of Education’s Aug. 22 meeting at the South Learning Center in Union City, Looney spoke about the project right before the board voted 7-0 to approve a resolution officially opposing the project.
The district joins a number of residents and governments opposed to at least some part of the plan, which calls for impacting 40 to 50 homes through right-of-way acquisition by GDOT to clear a path for the new lanes.
The project calls for widening 400 by constructing express lanes on an about 16-mile section of the highway from the North Springs MARTA station (Exit 5C) in Fulton to about 0.9 miles north of McFarland Parkway (Exit 12) in Forsyth County. The proposed express lanes are expected to improve mobility and travel time reliability along the 400 corridor.
GDOT spokeswoman Natalie Dale said the design of all its projects “works to enhance safety and mobility on the roadway, as well as maintain a safe environment and mitigate impacts on neighboring communities.”
“We are committed to continuing our open dialogue and communication with the Fulton County school system to minimize any impacts as well as to retain a secure and productive learning environment,” she said.
“We will use mitigation measures for noise and safety, both during construction and well beyond project completion.”
As part of the resolution, the board also authorized Looney to take all action needed to protect the safety and security of students, staff and community members in response to GDOT’s proposal.
Brian Noyes, a district spokesman, Aug. 30 said Looney in his letter “suggested GDOT move the (express lanes’) design to the west to avoid the risk to (the two) schools and was told they could not do that.”