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Ga. Highway 400 toll lanes project has a new critic: Fulton County Schools

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School system officials raise safety concerns about GDOT’s interstate expansion plans

A rendering of SR 400 Express Lanes shows interchange ramps that could be created in Roswell.
Part of the proposed express lanes vision.
Georgia Department of Transportation

Another public agency is calling for tweaks to the Georgia Department of Transportation’s grand plans to expand Ga. Highway 400 with new express lanes.

The Fulton County School System has asked GDOT officials to move proposed toll lanes farther west to distance them from Dunwoody Springs and Woodland elementary schools, according to Reporter Newspapers.

No dice, GDOT officials told the publication.

The school system penned a resolution to GDOT in August, asking for amendments to the plans, which Fulton County Schools leaders believe could cause safety issues for students, parents, and faculty at the two schools.

Fulton County Superintendent Mike Looney also claimed in the document that ensuring the highway expansion keeps the schools safe could be costly, and that the district could have to recoup unforeseen expenses.

The schools, sited just under two miles apart, both closely neighbor Ga. Highway 400 to the east.

GDOT officials, however, told FCS that pushing the proposed construction to the west would have a greater impact on the residential communities also abutting the interstate.

This is not the first time GDOT has faced backlash for its massive plans to expand Ga. Highway 400 and Interstate 285 with express lanes.

This past summer, municipal leaders in Dunwoody and Doraville said GDOT should pump the brakes on its potentially $11 billion “Major Mobility Investment Program,” positing that it might not be a silver bullet for curbing traffic. Some North Fulton city officials have also suggested GDOT should consider how future mass transit expansion could affect the need for highways down the road.

Last month, GDOT officials announced the toll lanes projects would be delayed a few years so the agency could prioritize the construction of new truck lanes on Interstate 75 between Macon and McDonough and elsewhere.