Sandy Springs’ Studio Theatre in the City Springs complex could be packed to the gills next week for the city council’s next work session.
A representative of the Georgia Department of Transportation is expected to provide an update on the Georgia 400 express lanes and bus rapid transit project at the work session Sept. 3 at 6 p.m.
Residents and the city, plus the Fulton County Schools district, have expressed opposition 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 seeks to widen 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.
At the Fulton Board of Education’s Aug. 22 meeting at the South Learning Center in Union City, the board voted 7-0 to approve a resolution officially opposing part of the project because the lanes are to be built near Dunwoody Springs and Woodland elementary schools, both in Sandy Springs.
Fulton district Superintendent Mike Looney, who spoke about the project right before the board’s vote, the following day submitted a letter to GDOT outlining its objection to that portion of the plan.
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.”
As part of the project, GDOT wants to build one new 400 interchange on Mount Vernon Highway, but the city prefers it to be constructed on Crestline Parkway, just south of Mount Vernon, due to traffic concerns. However, that alternative would mean eight townhomes would be acquired by GDOT because they would be in the right-of-way, and it would cost an estimated extra $30 million, which the city would have to contribute.
At previous council meetings, residents have spoken about how GDOT’s plans would mean they would be forced to sell their homes to the state and move.
Since the express lanes plan was announced in January, Mayor Rusty Paul and District 1 Councilman John Paulson have worked with GDOT on finding ways to reduce the number of homes affected by the project and also possibly cut the overall cost.
To view the agendas for the council's Sept. 3 work session plus its public facilities authority and regular meetings, visit www.sandyspringsga.gov/government/city-council/mayor-and-council-meetings.