The realignment of the Big Creek Parkway project and a memorandum with the Georgia Department of Transportation to construct express lanes along Ga. 400/Holcomb Bridge Road aims to further connectivity and improve traffic in Roswell.
Both the Big Creek Parkway Project and the Ga. 400/Holcomb Bridge Road interchange have been approved by Roswell city council Sept. 9.
With over 70,000 vehicles per day and as Roswell’s only access to Ga. 400, the Holcomb Bridge Road/400 interchange is the city's largest transportation challenge.
The city plans to incorporate more sidewalks to push for bike and pedestrian connectivity. Big Creek Parkway Phase 2 will be constructed as complete streets with on-street bike lanes, a sidewalk and a multi-use path. A sidewalk connection along with striped bike lanes on existing Holcomb Woods Parkway will be done through other existing program funding.
Phases 1 and 2 of the Big Creek Parkway project include a bridge over Ga. 400, a bridge over Big Creek and improvements to Old Holcomb Bridge Road. The new road will connect to Holcomb Bridge Road, cross over Ga. 400 North and follow 400 back to Holcomb Bridge Road. Phase 1 would begin around spring 2020, with 18 months of construction. Phase 2 would begin around spring 2021, needing around 36 months of construction.
After receiving input through public comment and work sessions, city staff originally recommended to add Warsaw Road to the project as Phase 3. However, city council approved the Big Creek Project with the condition that Phase 3 become part of Phase 2. Warsaw Road would be connected and provide commuters with another commute option. According to the Roswell Department of Transportation, the Warsaw connection needs to be studied more, but would cost around $5 million.
"I would argue that the scope of the project has not changed and the trust that our citizens have put in us have not been diminished," Mayor Lori Henry said. "We are still doing the same thing we told citizens we would do to begin with and that is north bridge, no on and off ramps and that it connects to Warsaw Road."
The proposed alignment would also remove Holcomb Woods Parkway from the scope of the Big Creek Parkway project on the east end. The proposed realignment could save the city $12 million, and the project is funded by TSPLOST 1.
"(Director of Transportation) Muhammad (Rauf) and I are doing everything possible to construct all three phases as quickly as possible," deputy transportation director Robert Dell-Ross said.
In addition to approving the Big Creek Project, city council also approved a memorandum with GDOT to improve the 400/Holcomb Bridge Road Interchange. The total cost of the Ga. 400/Holcomb Bridge Road Interchange and its future accommodations is $59 million.
GDOT originally wanted Roswell to cover 60% of the cost of the project, but agreed to lower Roswell's portion to 40% of the cost, which is about $15 million. The proposed payment could be paid fully in one installment or in yearly installments beginning May 2021.
In a letter from GDOT Chief Engineer Meg Pirkle, GDOT stated that Roswell must submit aesthetic plans for the bridge by the end of 2019, and pay for all of those expenses once approved. GDOT also requested that Roswell contribute $15 million to Holcomb Bridge Road/400 interchange reconstruction in yearly installments. In a draft concept presented by the state, GDOT proposed another loop ramp on the southbound side. The proposed reconstruction of the interchange would also lay the footprint and accommodate a transit/MARTA access point.
GDOT also told Roswell in the letter that it will be responsible for intersection needed intersection improvements as they arise. "If the project has impacts on existing intersections, GDOT will accommodate needed intersection improvements," Pirkle stated in the letter.
The city is hoping to begin construction as soon as possible.