ALPHARETTA, Ga. – After 10 years in the planning, state and local officials cut the ribbon Aug. 29 on a small roadway they say will have a huge impact for Alpharetta.
The Northwinds Extension, a $6 million project that provides a north-south connector for local traffic for Haynes Bridge Road to Old Milton Parkway just west of Ga. 400, opened to the cheers of those who shepherded the project through to its end.
Moses Brown, vice chairman of the North Fulton Community Improvement District, which first proposed the project in 2007, said the roadway offers an important alternative to those in the area.
It is another in the string of contributions the CID focuses on, he said, “making impactful connections” that increase mobility for the employees and residents of the area.
“We are delighted to have the opportunity to open up this road today and get everybody using it,” he said.
The North Fulton CID conceived the project as part of its original master plan, but it only picked up steam in the past couple of years with the addition of Avalon and Gwinnett Technical College on Old Milton Parkway.
The project always made sense, said Kirstin Winzeler, program director for the CID, but it made even more sense when Old Milton Parkway began to develop.
Coupled with the 2012 opening of Westside Parkway just to the west, the new roadway now provides local traffic an alternative to the frenzy of Ga. 400, Winzeler said.
Before the extension was completed, Northwinds Parkway ran from Haynes Bridge Road north to Kimball Bridge. The new half-mile extension completes the route to Old Milton Parkway, providing students at Gwinnett Tech an alternative entrance and exit to the south, Winzeler said.
“This was something we told Gwinnett Tech about when they first decided to come to this area,” she said. “It wasn’t a promise, but they were very interested in it.”
The project was a partnership between the CID, the Georgia DOT with the City of Alpharetta. The CID contributed $2 million for design, program management and right-of-way acquisition. GDOT chipped in a little over $2 million for construction.
Pulte Homes, which has a major townhome development in the area, contributed private funding for the southern section of the extension.
Wenzeler said local drivers will appreciate the new road.
“We’re trying to build out that grid system in North Fulton, so you don’t have to get on Ga. 400 at 5 o’clock to pick up your kids from soccer practice or go to the grocery store,” she said. “Let 400 be the major thoroughfare for ‘working’ traffic.’ Let these side streets like Westside Parkway, like Northwinds Parkway be for local people.”
Alpharetta Mayor David Belle Isle said the project is a testament to how local governments can work together with the business community to benefit an entire population. Strong ties like these, he said, make the difference between drawing up concepts and getting the actual work done.
“This partnership, this road is just the fruit of these partnerships to be able to create a better city, a better community with better opportunity, not just for Alpharetta, but so far beyond,” he said.