The Dunwoody City Council received an update on a slew of Georgia Department of Public Transportation Projects during a Nov. 29 meeting.
Tim Matthews, state express lanes administrator with GDOT, gave an update on projects including top-end express lanes on I-285, express lanes on Ga. 400, and express lanes for transit.
I-285/Peachtree Industrial Boulevard Interchange Improvements
This project combines the I-285 westbound exit ramps to Peachtree Industrial Boulevard north and south and adjusts the horizontal curve of the north exit ramp. Matthews said that the city of Doraville is in the process of repaving parts of Peachtree Industrial Boulevard, and construction is slated to begin in 2022 with “substantial completion” of the project by 2023.
“It’s not a large project, so it will go pretty quick, subject to traffic management,” Matthews said.
I-285 Eastside Bridge Replacements
This project will replace three bridges that run over I-285 at Covington Highway, Redwing Circle, and Glenwood Road. GDOT will also extend those bridges to accommodate future express lanes. Matthews said GDOT has approved all three bridge layouts and is slated to begin construction in 2022.
I-285 Westbound Auxiliary Lane Extension
This project adds an auxiliary lane along I-285 between Roswell Road and Riverside Drive and replaces the Mount Vernon Highway bridge over I-285. The project also widens the I-285 bridge over Long Island Drive. Construction is expected to start in 2023 with “substantial completion” by 2025.
Ga. 400 Express Lanes
This project includes two new express lanes on Ga. 400 going in each direction from the North Springs MARTA Station to McGinnis Ferry Road, and one new express lane in each direction from McGinnis Ferry Road to just north of McFarland Parkway. This project will also incorporate Bus Rapid Transit (BRT).
Matthews said the Ga. 400 Express Lane project has been delayed because GDOT was not able to award a contract for the project, which they hoped to do in August. Matthews said GDOT expects to share how the project will move forward by first-quarter 2022.
“The most important message here is that the project is not cancelled,” Matthews said. “It is a priority for the state, and it is a needed project and will move forward in some capacity in the future. I can’t tell you when that’s going to be.”
In order to get some work done for the project, Matthews said GDOT will go ahead and replace three bridges over Ga. 400 in order to accommodate the future express lanes. Matthews called this part of the project “Phase One,” and it will include replacing bridges at Pitts Road, Roberts Drive, and Kimball Bridge Road. Construction for Phase One is expected to begin in 2023 with “substantial completion” by 2024.
I-285 Express Lanes
Matthews said GDOT has changed its financing approach for these projects, which will push back the timeline. With the new approach, Matthews said that instead of only one express lane on the east and west side of I-285, there would be two express lanes in each direction throughout the entire project.
Matthews said the department is still finalizing its procurement strategy for the projects.
“These projects are to the tune of $2-$5 billion,” Matthews said. “You can’t just put these out on the street and everybody come bid on them. There’s only certain players that can bid on these projects, and they can only bid on a certain amount at any given time.”
Matthews said with the new financing structure, more entry and exit points could be added to the express lanes by the developer, but he didn’t expect that there would be any huge changes.
Express Lanes Transit
Matthews said that GDOT hoped the new express lanes would also be helpful to transit providers and transit riders, expanding service and adding new routes on congested corridors.
Matthews said on Ga. 400, express lane transit will come in the form of Bus Rapid Transit (BRT), and MARTA is expected to build four stations along the route in the future.
“We believe the express lanes are absolutely needed for transit enhancement,” Matthews said. “Without express lanes, we’re really not going to be able to receive that benefit.”
To watch the entire GDOT presentation, visit the city’s Facebook page.