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Howell Mill Road ‘complete streets,’ other Renew Atlanta plans could be in jeopardy

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Shifting construction costs and design changes are adding complications to $250 million bond program

a picture of howell mill road during streets alive
Syncing traffic lights is the top priority for Howell Mill Road, as seen here during Atlanta Streets Alive.
MIchael Khan, Curbed Atlanta

Various projects outlined in the $250 million Renew Atlanta bond program could be in jeopardy, as parts of the plan are turning out to be more costly than expected.

Among other projects that could potentially be knocked from the list or underfunded is the Howell Mill Road “complete streets” initiative, which was expected to restripe the road with bike lanes and better turn lanes, fix busted sidewalks, and upgrade bus stops.

Renew Atlanta officials said at a recent meeting that “rebaselining”—running the numbers again to reformat the plans—is par for the course for such ambitious projects, according to Saporta Report.

The need to rework the bond program, which was approved by Atlanta voters in 2015, stems from shifting construction costs and design changes, Renew Atlanta manager Michele Wynn told the publication.

Although they agree that traffic-clogged Howell Mill Road is in dire need of a complete streets overhaul, Councilmen Andre Dickens and Dustin Hillis both said during a Renew Atlanta meeting Thursday that synchronizing the street’s traffic lights is more important in the short term.

Documents obtained by Saporta Report show that construction from the Howell Mill corridor was originally slated to kick off in May 2017, but the design isn’t yet complete.

Wynn said the corridor, running from Marietta Street to Collier Road, could possibly be improved in segments—after the traffic light situation is dealt with.

Another issue impacting the Howell Mill project and others on the Renew Atlanta blueprints is the multi-million-dollar cost of the Northside Drive pedestrian bridge

The Renew Atlanta bond program was complicated by the $23 million pedestrian bridge that will one day carry sports fans over Northside Drive to and from Mercedes-Benz Stadium downtown.

Around $19 million of Renew Atlanta bond premiums were used to pay for that project, which wasn’t on the initial list, according to Saporta Report.

Mercedes-Benz Stadium

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