A high number of crashes at the intersection of Abernathy and Roswell roads led Sandy Springs City Council Sept. 15 to approve spending another $161,100 to design short-term fixes and analyze potential long-term improvements.

Kimley-Horn & Associates initially received a little bit less than $55,000 in October 2019 to study the intersection and three others to analyze crash data and develop fixes that might be eligible for safety program funding through the Georgia Department of Transportation, said Kristen Wescott, the city’s Transportation Services Unit manager. The study also includes other roadways tying into the main intersection, including Sunny Brook Lane and Cherry Tree Lane.

Short-term intersection improvements planned include right-turn signals westbound on Abernathy to Roswell Road, pulling a median “nose” back, and four other fixes. (City of Sandy Springs)

The Abernathy/Roswell intersection recorded 134 accidents in 2017. Its ratio of 555 crashes per 100 million vehicle-miles made it the fourth highest intersection in the city for accidents.

Kimley-Horn’s report revealed that most of the crashes are rear-end accidents, which indicates congestion, Wescott said.

Short-term solutions included adding right-turn lane signalization for westbound Abernathy Road; pulling back the east leg median nose; and simplifying southbound signage. Other short-term fixes include a southbound left-turn barrier; installing on Roswell Road southbound a right-turn mountable curb and hatching stripes; and making the Abernathy Square shopping center’s southern driveway right-in, right-out only.

Councilmember Jody Reichel said she goes by the intersection several times a day and it’s not unusual to see some sort of accident.

“Can we start doing some of these intersection improvements now, or are we going to have to wait for this engineering study?” she asked.

The designs would still need to go through GDOT for approval because Roswell Road is a state route.

For long-range alternatives, consultants are looking at different types of intersection designs, Wescott said. Possibilities include a diverging diamond like the one at I-285 and Ashford-Dunwoody Road in Dunwoody, and a “quadrant design” that would create a secondary intersection.

Bob Pepalis covers Sandy Springs for Rough Draft Atlanta and Reporter Newspapers.