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Clock is ticking for any planned changes to Ga. Highway 400’s mammoth expansion

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GDOT officials say they need to submit plans to feds soon to keep schedule

A rendering of SR 400 Express Lanes shows interchange ramps that could be created in Roswell.
A system that state officials say will slash commute times by thousands of hours each day in the next decade. 
Georgia Department of Transportation

If the Georgia Department of Transportation intends to keep its $1.6 billion expansion of Ga. Highway 400 on schedule, it can’t keep up this back-and-forth with North Fulton communities much longer, GDOT officials contend.

The project, which is slated to create 16 miles of new express lanes and a four-station bus rapid transit system, is expected to reduce traffic delays by more than 19,000 hours daily by 2030, according to GDOT.

But a project of this stature—more than 200,000 cars use the corridor each weekday—will require careful planning and design to get right, especially considering how many metro Atlantans will be impacted by it.

The cities of Roswell, Sandy Springs, and Alpharetta have been volleying ideas for the expansion with GDOT officials, in an effort to protect their residents from undue side effects, such as increased traffic and highway noise, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Sandy Springs, for instance, wants GDOT to bail on plans for flyover overpass lanes at Northridge Road.

But GDOT officials counter that running the lanes below the bridge, as Sandy Springs leaders have requested, would be too pricey.

In Alpharetta, lawmakers are primarily asking GDOT officials to show more data to back up predictions about the traffic implications of the mammoth project, according to the AJC.

And the Roswell City Council last week set out to spend about $2 million to study how beautified highway bridges could impact the city, which is bisected by Ga. Highway 400.

If GDOT is to move forward with the expansion’s construction by 2022, it will need to send plans to the Federal Highway Administration for environmental approval and then the bidding process this fall.

The new lanes would be open to traffic by 2027, according to GDOT’s website.