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Utility pole work could snarl Peachtree traffic in Buckhead through 2020

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GDOT: Removals must occur during the day, for safety reasons; Roswell Road also to be impacted

The road-abutting utility poles, as seen where Peachtree meets Huntington Road.
The road-abutting utility poles, as seen where Peachtree meets Huntington Road.
Google Maps

First it was a lane-blocking, allegedly illegal construction crane, and now it’s pesky Peachtree Road utility poles.

Traffic woes for car and bus commuters who depend on Atlanta’s signature street (along with Roswell Road) through Buckhead could be compounded for a considerable amount of time.

Beginning this week, crews with Georgia Department of Transportation and Georgia Power are moving 100 utility poles from curbs along Peachtree Road to the back of sidewalks.

The affected area for lane closures stretches about eight miles, from Spring Street in Midtown to beyond Chastain Park.

Work is expected to take about a year, weather permitting.

The utility poles in question near Spring Street in Midtown.
Google Maps

A Georgia Power spokesperson told the AJC that utility pole readjustments will happen from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day—instead of overnight—for safety reasons and because of sound concerns in heavily residential areas. It’s important that crews can see live power lines while maneuvering poles and cranes, per the spokesperson.

Funded by GDOT and the utility company, the $5.3 million work is part of a broader program meant to boost safety called Georgia Power’s Clear Roadside Project.

But one Curbed Atlanta reader worried in an email that the opposite could happen.

“Applying design features appropriate for high-speed highways to city streets backfires,” wrote the emailer, who wished to remain anonymous. “When people are driving on wide roads with no obstacles on either side, they assume it’s safe to drive fast. Rather than moving poles [farther] back from the street, GDOT should address safety by making design changes that discourage speeding.”

For the foreseeable future, travelers in the area can expect closures along Roswell Road, stretching for a couple of miles from Piedmont Road to Windsor Parkway, northwest of Chastain Park.

And on Peachtree Road, closures will come between Interstate 85 and Palisades Road; between Colonial Homes Drive and Peachtree Battle Avenue; between Peachtree Park and Peachtree Valley Road; and at various points in the Collier Road area.