Motorists traveling busy Mount Vernon Road can expect to see some changes coming soon at the Vermack Road intersection, but when the repaving of a section of the road that continues to crack and sink will happen remains to be seen.

Tree clearing on Mount Vernon Road at the Vermack Road intersection is expected to begin by February to begin the long-awaited improvements at the intersection notorious for traffic congestion.

A city map showing the planned improvements at Mount Vernon and Vermack Road, including the addition of turn lanes on both roads.

The City Council awarded the $56,000 contract to A1 Contracting at its Jan. 8 meeting. The tree removal is the beginning stage of the planned intersection improvements that dates back to 2014. The project includes adding sidewalks, concrete islands for pedestrian safety, bike lanes and additional turn lanes on both roads.

About 150 trees will be chopped down along the project area that is about a quarter-mile long, according to city officials. The tree removal is expected to begin by early February.

DeKalb County will also be undertaking a water main upgrade in the project area and the city is entering into an intergovernmental agreement with the county to incorporate the water main upgrade into the intersection improvement project, according to Public Works Director Michael Smith.

The city approved the IGA in February 2017 and the DeKalb Board of Commissioners finally approved it in November.

“In order to incorporate the county’s water main upgrade into the project the city needed a set of design plans from the county, and the DeKalb Board of Commissioners approval of the intergovernmental agreement (IGA) that the City Council approved in February of 2017,” Smith stated in the memo.

The final water main design plans are expected by the end of January at which point the construction contract can be advertised, Smith stated.

To get the project underway, the city is starting the tree-clearing portion of the project as a separate contract so that the site can be cleared and utility relocation can begin, Smith explained.

The city approved $1.25 million in 2017 for the Mount Vernon Road and Vermack Road intersection project.

Mount Vernon repaving
The city continues to try to work with a contractor to repave a section of Mount Vernon Road that is currently crumbling following the installation of a water main by DeKalb County in 2015.

“The city is still on top of the matter and is working on potential solutions to address the cracked areas and road conditions,” said city spokesperson Bob Mullen.

“There’s no definitive timetable as of now, but it will likely be spring or early summer before it can be appropriately addressed due to weather conditions,” he said.

The city is also continuing discussions with the contractor on the issue, Mullen said.

Alessandro Salvo, owner of GS Construction, is battling with the city over who should pay to repair an eastbound stretch of Mount Vernon near Dunwoody Village that continues to crack and sink.

Salvo has explained that his company was contracted by the city to do the paving after DeKalb County replaced a water main along the road. He said the city and county told him to fill the trench dug for the water main with loose rock rather than solid dirt.

That loose rock is like a liquid underneath the road and will constantly be moving, affecting the road, Salvo said. To repair the road, the road needs to be completely dug up and the backfill replaced, he said.

Dyana Bagby is a staff writer for Reporter Newspapers and Atlanta Intown.