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Feasibility study asks: Could a new Ga. 400 interchange ease Buckhead traffic?

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Project leaders do concede: “What good is a new ramp to a highway that isn’t moving?”

A rendering of plans to install an interchange connecting East Paces Ferry Road and Ga. Highway 400.
The big idea.
Livable Buckhead

If traversing Ga. Highway 400 and its connected arteries in central Buckhead feels like purgatory, some modicum of salvation could be on the way.

Or maybe not.

Next month, the Buckhead Community Improvement District will kickstart a study to help determine if a new interchange accessing Ga. Highway 400 is in the cards for the north Atlanta subdistrict, according to advocacy group Livable Buckhead.

Funded with federal monies, the initiative largely aims to investigate whether a connector to 400 from East Paces Ferry Road could ease congestion along the hellishly traffic-heavy stretch of Buckhead and the highway that runs nearby.

This is all part of the Buckhead REdeFINED program, a CID-led plan crafted in 2017 that aims to bring, among other things, a multi-use trail network, new restaurants and retail, and better access to and from the highway.

A zoomed-in shot of the interchange connecting to East Paces Ferry.
A zoomed-in shot of the interchange connecting to East Paces Ferry.
Livable Buckhead

The study, expected to conclude by spring 2019, will analyze local traffic impacts, design feasibility, cost estimates, and input from the public.

The blueprints, of course, are totally tentative, bound only by a few goals outlined in the REdeFINED master plan:

  • Connect East Paces Ferry to Ga. Highway 400
  • Provide access to and from the south
  • End on the west side of 400, by Lenox Square
  • Turn into a local road at East Paces Ferry Road

There is also, however, a possibility the new interchange could be fruitless in the fight against Atlanta traffic, Livable Buckhead noted, also mentioning the construction and finished product could be unsightly to neighbors.

“Some potential drawbacks to the new interchange might include negative traffic and visual impacts to adjacent neighborhoods; and limited traffic benefit because of existing congestion on Ga. Highway 400 (i.e., what good is a new ramp to a highway that isn’t moving?),” the page says.

As part of the REdeFINED plan, the Buckhead CID is also conducting an affordable housing study to suss out the stock and needs of the neighborhood.

The master plan claimed most of the nearby traffic issues stem from commuters clogging roadways because the vast majority of them can’t afford to live in the Buckhead area, according to Reporter Newspapers.

That’s hardly a revelation, but certainly something to keep in mind.