The Georgia Department of Transportation rejected Alpharetta's proposal for Ga. 400 access lanes at Encore Parkway, and will instead build the access lanes between Webb Bridge Road and Windward Parkway.
Shortly after GDOT’s plans for the project were first unveiled in March of this year, Alpharetta officials began expressing concerns that GDOT’s designs were likely to drive significant increases on local roads that are already at or above capacity during peak commute times. No solutions or support was offered for handling that increased volume.
Among the most concerning aspects of the state’s proposal was the Webb+ concept, which would create a dedicated access ramp for the Ga. 400 Express Lanes just north of Webb Bridge Road that would connect drivers to and from North Point and Westside Parkways.
The concept drew loud cries from Alpharetta residents and consternation from the city's elected officials concerned over impacts to nearby neighborhoods as commuters used two-lane neighborhood collector streets to connect to the regional arterial.
Following several public input sessions and analysis of anticipated traffic impacts of GDOT’s proposed Webb+ concept, in an August 27 letter Mayor Jim Gilvin advanced the idea that relocating the access point would be more cost effective while providing better connectivity to regional destinations like office parks, North Point Mall, and the AmerisBank Amphitheater. More importantly from a local perspective, the Encore Parkway location would be better supported by existing and planned road infrastructure and would not have the negative impacts on local surface streets and residential neighborhoods that would result from the Webb+ concept.
“During a meeting with GDOT and others late last week, GDOT was quite emphatic that they have no interest in revisiting the Encore Parkway location,” Mayor Jim Gilvin stated during the Sept. 23 city council meeting. “According to the Department of Transportation representative, in 2017 a now former City Council Member and a representative of the North Fulton Community Improvement District, although having no authority to do so, requested that the Encore Parkway location be removed from consideration.”
Based upon that request, GDOT turned its attention to other locations for a direct access point to and from the Ga 400 Express Lanes in Alpharetta and has since dedicated considerable time and resources in developing the Webb+ concept. They are now moving forward with their timeline and have begun the environmental impact studies that are the next required step in the development of the Ga 400 Express Lanes Project.
“While it remains the City’s official position that locating the direct access point for the express lanes at Encore Parkway results in a project that improves mobility in a manner that best serves our community and the entire region, the GA400 Express Lanes Project is not one that we control,” Gilvin stated. “So, at this time GDOT will be moving forward with the project, including the Webb+ access.”