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Input Meeting on Ga. 400 Offers Preview for Sandy Springs

Roswell's The Cottage School played host to a Department of Transportation open house discussing the possibility of adding lanes to Ga. 400.

 

Tuesday evening might have been a beautiful time for a walk or a bicycle ride. Instead, hundreds of local residents were focused on another mode of transportation; and more specifically, a key highway for North Fulton drivers - Ga. 400.

The activity building at the in Roswell was full of local drivers eager to discuss one of the area’s hot button topics: express lanes on Ga. 400.

The Georgia Department of Transportation held its first of three open houses , Tuesday.

The DOT provided stations in the activity room: the first was a video discussing the issue. Elsewhere there were experts fielding questions while standing at maps. The DOT also offered to let citizens fill out a study survey.

The area under consideration for the lanes goes from State Route 20 - Buford Drive - in Forsyth County south, to where the highway intersects with I-285.

During the two-hour open house, citizens came with some ideas and with some gripes.

They also learned a few things:

  • No funding source has yet been identified to pay for the right of way and construction. As a voice on the introductory video said: “Even with tolls there may not be money for improvements.”
  • If lanes were added, they would be managed lanes, probably involving a toll.
  • The current lane configuration will probably not be messed with. It seems likely only the added lanes would be toll lanes. It is unlikely that current lanes will become managed lanes.
  • The DOT is open to ideas about how many lanes to add, the possibility of reversible lanes and most any other idea.

“We are at the very beginning stages,” said Bryant Poole, District Engineer, Georgia Dept of Transportation. “Do we want four lanes, two lanes, nothing at all? What other creative ideas do (people) have and certainly, in this case, there are no identified funds to acquire right of way and build the road.

“That is part of what this is about. If we could come up with an idea, how would we fund it?”

Poole noted that transportation projects must make sense to facilitate growth decades in the future.

“(We’ll consider) any creative way that we can think of to manage congestion that will project into the future and that is the key,” Poole said. “When we develop our transportation system, it is not thinking today or tomorrow, we’re thinking 30 years out. That is the key, even if we have to build it in phases.”

The DOT hopes to finish collecting public input by June, the video explained. Ideally, environmental documents would be approved by late 2013.

The department’s other open houses regarding Ga. 400 will be Thursday at Piney Grove Middle School in Cumming and March 20 at First Baptist Church in Sandy Springs.

Those who cannot attend one of the three meetings can still have their say by filling out an online DOT survey.

Joe Seconder March 14, 2012 at 06:58 PM
Wake me up when they run MARTA rail straight up GA-400 as far as they can. Why did they stop after the Olympics at the North Springs station, when a gazillion more people moved to Forsyth and sit in their cars going southbound on GA-400 each morning? For those people who voluntarily chose to relocate to Forsyth for low taxes and work in Fulton, Gwinnett, Cobb or DeKalb, I say "fine". Put up another toll booth on GA-400 at the county line and pay for your own road widenings. Make it 6 lanes in each direction for all I care. Just don't expect me to subsidize your commute. Oh, and by the way -- there's absolutely NO correlation to additional crime & MARTA or public transportation. You think they're going to steal your HDTV when you're at work and then walk over to the bus or train? Go to Charlotte, NC and see their visionary transit plans coming to fruition.
Brian Oravetz March 15, 2012 at 02:25 PM
It is pure insanity for the DoT to even think about undertaking such a project. We are over taxed and tolled as it is, the last thing that we need are more lanes added to 400. Moreover, because of the fact that government takes too much of our income in the form of taxes, fee's and toll's as it is, even the notion of these "managed" lanes is a terribly irresponsible idea. Government is not responsible with tax payer money, and they are not a good manager of projects that face the public. Like Joe said, we should not be forced to subsidize the commute for anyone. We should not be force to subsidize mass transportation. The government needs to be trimmed down, and get its irresponsible spending under control so that it can work within a budget and finance projects within those budgets. The DoT has no credibility on this issue. They said that the toll booth at 400 would be removed once construction was completed. Then... shocker... we find out that they LIED, and the toll booth stayed up. Government bureaucrats cannot be trusted with the money that we're forced to give them already. There is no good case for this new madness being proposed. No one wanted the "managed" lanes on 85, and we do not want them on 400. This is simply outrageous that the government intends to force more taxes and tolls upon us.

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