The Perimeter Community Improvement District (CID)’s executive director appeared before the Sandy Springs City Council to collaborate on designs for bridges over Ga. 400 and I-285.

Perimeter CID Executive Director Ann Hanlon said her board was supportive of funding aesthetic improvements to the seven bridges in Sandy Springs and three in Dunwoody that are within the organization’s boundaries. They want the designs to signal to people that they are entering or exiting the Perimeter market.

With their design consultant, they identified three levels of enhancements. She said the designs being shared with the city were initial concepts only. The designs pulled architectural elements from the Perimeter market, with ideas from the King and Queen buildings, plus the State Farm complex at Park Center in Dunwoody.

“We wanted to come up with something that was a little more contemporary looking to reflect the architecture that’s already in the CID area,” Hanlon said.

Sandy Springs already has its own design for bridges being replaced by the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) that use stone, the city’s logo, lighting, and a decorative design on screening along the sidewalks and mixed-use paths.

In September 2020 the city approved spending $5.5 million for enhancements to bridges over Pitts Road, Roberts Drive and Spalding Drive that will be replaced as part of GDOT’s Managed Lanes project on Ga. 400.

After meeting with the city’s design consultant, the CID’s design was changed with a blending of elements from the Sandy Springs bridge design and the contemporary look, she said.

“Your design is so distinctly different than our design that it kind of defeats both our efforts in trying to brand. Somehow or other, we’ve got to harmonize these in a way so that it doesn’t look like you go from Sandy Springs into some other community when you’re still in Sandy Springs,” Mayor Rusty Paul said.

Hanlon said she’s hearing the goal from both sides it to make the bridge designs as harmonious as possible.

“We’ve even talked about it at the CID [that] in other parts of Metro Atlanta where that hasn’t been done, and you’ve had a different look at every single exit. And so I think we absolutely want to avoid that,” she said.

Councilmember John Paulson said he agrees with improving the look of the bridges.

“I think this is a good idea as we’re having some conversations before it’s too far down that we can’t incorporate these in, or some fashion of these. That would be too bad, but at least we’re talking about if there’s a way to do it,” he said.

GDOT wants any suggestions for changes or additions to the bridge structures to be submitted by the end of the year, Hanlon said.

Public Works Director Marty Martin said GDOT already has bid out the three bridges that will use the city’s designs.

Pitts Road will close at the approaches to the bridge from east and west starting June 12 as the year-long demolition and construction of a new bridge to accommodate Ga. 400 express lanes begins.

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