Sandy Springs City Council approved almost $4 million in bids for an intersection improvement project and a sidewalk project funded by a special sales tax, but it also directed the city attorney to move ahead with eminent domain for a roundabout project.

The Roswell Road and Grogans Ferry Road intersection project and a Roberts Road sidewalk project were approved by the City Council during its Jan. 5 meeting. A TSPLOST roundabout project at Northside Drive at Riverside Road/Old Powers Ferry Road hit a snag when a residential property owner at 5330 Northside Drive NW refused an offer of $102,400 for easements and right-of-way for the project.

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The Transportation Special Local Option Sales Tax voters approved in November 2016 devotes its revenues to several specific projects. The five-year, 0.75% sales tax began in April 2017. The tax collection will stop on March 30, 2022 or when the maximum of $655 million is collected in all of Fulton County, excluding Atlanta which has its own TSPLOST.

Mayor Rusty Paul said a referendum for another TSPLOST will be discussed by Fulton County’s mayors and the Fulton Board of Commissioners in a joint meeting on Jan. 9.

City Attorney Dan Lee’s recommendation to use eminent domain to acquire easements from a residential property owner for the Northside roundabout was approved by City Council. Councilmembers have not been pleased with eminent domain proceedings in the past, having rejected one proposed settlement to send it to trial.

For the roundabout project, the city wanted 7,562 square feet for right-of-way, 905 square feet of permanent easement and 5,110 square feet of temporary easement from property owner Jerry A. Wells.

The city’s land acquisition firm and staff have exhausted negotiations with the property owner, who Lee said has obtained a lawyer. An appraiser set the property value at $102,400, which was rejected by the property owner.

“He sent me a letter in response to my inquiry to say that he is adamantly opposed to the project in general and I take it to mean all aspects of it and its effect on him,” Lee said.

Martin said the project will solve a longstanding sight-distance issue at the intersection.

“You’re taking your life in your hands when you’re trying to go down Riverview, coming out of Riverview, as it’s really blind to your right as you are coming out,” Mayor Rusty Paul said.

The project schedule shows construction beginning as soon as March with an anticipated construction completion date of March 21, 2022. In November 2019, the city had anticipated construction completion five months earlier on Sept. 29, 2021.

The Roswell Road Grogans Ferry Road intersection project may begin construction in 60 days depending on issuance of permits, Public Works Director Marty Martin said. Completion is expected within 18 months of the start date under the $3.6 million contract awarded to Ohmshiv Construction, he said.

“This will be a significant undertaking for us in this case, because of some of the associated widening with this project to create turn lanes and allow turn lanes at the new signalized intersection. There will be some major utility relocations associated with this project,” Martin said.

The project will create a signalized intersection with dividing medians, curb and gutter, erosion control, pedestrian improvements and streetscape lighting, he said. The goal is to make a more efficient stretch of Roswell Road and a safer intersection.

The council also accepted SD&C’s $327,215 bid to construct 1,020 linear feet of 6-foot-wide sidewalk with curb and gutter and a 2-foot landscape buffer on Roberts Drive south of Northridge Road to the Davis Academy. It will have a handrail for pedestrians but not a guardrail, Martin said.

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