ALPHARETTA, Ga. — City leaders signed an agreement with Johns Creek Monday that paves the way for major traffic relief along a growing commuter artery.
The action gives the green light to a $10 million project to widen Haynes Bridge Road to four lanes between Old Alabama Road in Johns Creek north to Mansell Road in Alpharetta. Under terms of the agreement, each city will pony up $5 million from their share of revenues from the special transportation sales tax passed by Fulton County voters last November.
Councilman Chris Owens called the agreement a common sense approach on how to get a job done efficiently.
“This is an example of teamwork with an adjoining city,” Owens said. “The simplicity of this agreement is what’s great about it. It’s three pages.”
Because Johns Creek already has concept plans in hand, it will manage the design, engineering, and right-of-way acquisition for the project. Design costs and third-party costs associated with right-of-way acquisition will be split 50/50 between the cities. The design proposal will be brought forward at a future council meeting for award.
Despite its heavy use in Alpharetta, Haynes Bridge Road narrows from four lanes to two lanes heading south at Mansell Road.
The two-mile stretch is a major source of frustration for tens of thousands of daily commuters and for those living in the more than two dozen neighborhoods sprinkled along the route. The two-lane connects neighborhoods along the stretch to schools, Ga. 400 and other business centers.
“It’s a huge choke point, from there all the way down (to Old Alabama),” Assistant City Administrator James Drinkard said. “It’s trying to balance increasing the capacity without making it too much of an arterial, going through the more residential sections.”
The Johns Creek concept plan takes the residential areas into account, Drinkard said.
“You’ve got this blip in the middle that’s residential in nature,” he said. “So as you’re dealing with that capacity improvement, you have to do it in a manner that is respectful of that residential section.”
Alpharetta Public Works Director Pete Sewczwicz said the city saw the benefits of the Johns Creek proposal immediately.
“Johns Creek had a concept plan before TSPLOST was even envisioned,” Sewczwicz said. “Johns Creek came to us and asked if we were interested. We saw estimated costs, the benefits and we were interested.”
The daily bottlenecks, he said occur when Mansell traffic turns southbound onto Haynes Bridge. That traffic soon narrows down to one lane in each direction.
Sewczwicz said to preserve some nature of the residential flavor of the road, the design includes wide sidewalks to gain access to the Greenway; tree-lined streets and landscaped medians.
“That’s the concept. Nothing’s been designed. Nothing’s been engineered. Nothing has been surveyed,” he said.
Sewczwicz added that both cities expect to have the roadway exceed expectations.
“It’s already is a major corridor,” he said. “What we’re trying to do is improve the quality of life for those individuals to get to their house in a more timely manner.”