Approximately 155 properties in Brookhaven, Dunwoody and Sandy Springs could be affected or demolished by Georgia Department of Transportation right of way acquisition for the I-285 top-end toll lanes project, according to new maps unveiled during a Jan. 21 open house.
The draft plans show the project razing several residential and commercial structures, including some or all the Chateau Club Townhomes and possibly the swimming pool of the Georgetown Recreation Center, both in Dunwoody. Also marked for displacement are three to four buildings in the Dunwoody Village apartment complex, and two buildings in the Sierra Place apartments in Sandy Springs. Part of the backyards of numerous homeowners living along I-285 could be eaten up for the toll lanes.
GDOT also released a 10-minute video showing a concept of what the toll lanes would look like, with sweeping views of the elevated lanes.
In October, GDOT said it is delaying the construction timeline for the controversial toll lanes by years, with the earliest start date sometime in 2023, to get more competitive bids from contractors. Some free lanes are set to be built sooner. A series of open houses is being held this month to give the public a look at where the lanes would be built and get questions answered. Public comment on the project is being accepted through Feb. 25.
GDOT Program Manager Tim Matthews said the department was able to remove more than 100 of the original 300 parcels expected to be affected by the toll lanes.
In Sandy Springs, properties facing significant displacement include a building at 374 Mount Vernon Highway; two properties on Lake Forrest Drive at I-285; and two buildings in the Sierra Place apartments on Northwood Drive, according to the new maps.
Three to four buildings in the Dunwoody Village apartment complex off North Peachtree Road are marked for demolition, as well as all or some of Chateau Club Townhomes along I-285 in Dunwoody. Also possibly displaced, depending on alternative plans, are a gas station, the Wild Ginger Thai restaurant, a laundromat, and the Tip Top Kosher Market on Savoy Drive in Chamblee on the Dunwoody border.
GDOT has two alternatives for a stretch of I-285 along the Georgetown community in Dunwoody. One alternative takes out the swimming pool of the 50-year-old Georgetown Recreation Club, the other alternative does not.
The toll lanes projects are separate from the I-285/Ga. 400 interchange reconstruction project that is currently under construction. That project, known as “Transform 285/400,” began in 2017 and is expected to wrap up in late 2020. However, the toll lanes would run through the interchange area and connect with it.
While the overall toll lanes projects are delayed, GDOT said it will build certain parts of their proposed systems sooner to get ahead of the game and offer some traffic improvements. Those projects include:
I-285 westbound collector-distributor lanes: The dedicated lanes for interchange-users would run from Chamblee-Dunwoody Road to Ashford-Dunwoody Road in Dunwoody. They would be extensions of similar lanes being built now for the Transform 285/400 project. Construction would start in 2022 and open to traffic in 2024.
I-285/Peachtree Industrial Boulevard interchange: Improvements to the interchange near eastern Dunwoody include adding collector-distributor lanes. Construction would start in late 2021 and finish in late 2023 or early 2024.
I-285 westbound extra lane: The new lane would come from widening I-285 in Sandy Springs between Roswell Road and Riverside Drive. It is intended to serve drivers going between interchanges so they don’t have to weave through traffic, but anyone will be able to use it. The project also includes replacing the Mount Vernon Highway bridge over I-285. Construction would start in mid-2022 and finish in late 2024.
For more information on the projects, click here.
John Ruch contributed.