By Amy Wenk

The city of Sandy Springs will help construct a pedestrian and bicycle bridge over the Chattahoochee River to Roswell.

Sandy Springs officials agreed April 20 to join Roswell in designing and building a 12-foot-wide bridge across the river. The freestanding bridge should be constructed on the west side of the existing vehicular bridge on Roswell Road that joins the two cities.

Walkers, runners and cyclists could use the bridge as soon as 2012, officials said during February discussions.

Eighty percent of the money to pay for the $1.5 million bridge should come from a $3 million federal earmark the city of Roswell received in 2004. The cities of Roswell and Sandy

Springs must provide the remaining money.

Roswell officials in April asked Sandy Springs to go ahead and allocate about $360,000 to pay half of the cost of construction.

But Sandy Springs City Council was hesitant to fork over such a large amount and decided Roswell could have $50,000 to start the bridge’s design.

When and from where the rest of the money comes will be discussed during budget planning in May.

Roswell Director of Transportation Steven Acenbrak in February said that 14 percent of the bridge lies within Sandy Springs city limits.

“Why are we paying 50 percent when 80 percent of the bridge is in Roswell?” Dist. 5 Councilman Tibby DeJulio asked.

“We will benefit from this much more than Roswell,” Dist. 2 Councilwoman Dianne Fries replied.

Since Sandy Springs has limited recreation areas, the bridge would offer residents easy access to popular Roswell parks on Azalea Drive and Riverside Road. The crossing would connect to existing trails on Azalea Drive that span miles along the river to the west and pass underneath the bridge to the east, where old mill ruins are.

“We don’t have anything to offer, but this will be a start,” Fries said.

She agreed it was too soon to pay the entire project cost.

Acenbrak has said Roswell will hire a consultant to determine project cost and design. An environmental assessment will begin.

He said Roswell will sponsor the building of the bridge, but the Georgia Department of

Transportation probably would manage the construction.