ROSWELL, Ga. – The Roswell City Council approved the design of two major transportation projects at the April 12 council meeting. The first addresses the big traffic bottleneck at Oxbo Road and South Atlanta Street (Ga. 9), while the other is a pedestrian bridge over the Chattahoochee River that would connect the Roswell Greenway to Sandy Springs.

The intersection at Oxbo and South Atlanta Street has long been a topic of council discussion. The realignment was a key element in the Groveway Charette to revitalize the area along Atlanta Street from Norcross Street to Sloan Street.

In the plan approved by the City Council:

Oxbo Road will be realigned south of the existing hardware store at Atlanta Street and align with Oxbo on the west side. Thus Oxbo will be a straight shot to Mimosa Boulevard.

Elm Street, which runs parallel to Atlanta Street but dead-ends south of Oxbo will be widened from one to two lanes and punched through to Oxbo and connect to Pleasant Hill Street on the north side.

It will still be a narrow street, going from 15 feet wide to only 18 feet.

Maple Street, which is parallel to and south of Oxbo, will be widened slightly.

Transportation Director Steve Acenbrak said the plan will give the southeastern quadrant there a much-needed grid system.

“This solves not just one problem with the Oxbo intersection, but a number of really hard [transportation] problems,” Acenbrak said. “It gives us a grid in that area east of Ga. 9 and connects it to the rest of the city.

“There really is no way to walk or bicycle into there or hardly turn left [onto Sloan Street],” he said. “It’s a terrible situation with no good access. This is a good solution to a lot of different problems down there.”

Perhaps the biggest key to creating connectivity is widening Elm Street and connecting to Pleasant Hill Street and ultimately Oak Street farther north, Acenbrak said.

The council approved $435,000 to pay Clark Patterson Lee, a Rochester, N.Y.-based engineering and architecture firm, to design the project. Construction will cost $3 million, with another $3.6 million for right of way.

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The right of way includes a vacant 18-unit apartment building on Oxbo that will be demolished. Acenbrak said the brick and concrete from the apartment building will be broken up and used for filler in the new road construction.

“Never let it be said Roswell wastes anything,” he said.

Mayor Jere Wood said the city is still looking for the money to make that project happen. He said there could be state money available since Ga. 9 is a state road. The city might use a tax allocation district in which the rising taxes on surrounding property that is improved by the project pays for the bonds sold to build it.

“Redevelopment will certainly occur. We know that from the Groveway Charette. The area will certainly have better circulation. And we will be working closely with Pleasant Hill Church folks,” Wood said. “This should fill out this part of Roswell.”

The second project approved is a “signature” pedestrian bridge over the Chattahoochee. The city approved $500,000 for a contract with Heath and Line Beck Engineers, Inc. to design the project. That cost and the cost of the bridge construction, estimated at $3 million, will be split three ways among Roswell, Sandy Springs and federal earmark money. Roswell and Sandy Springs will each pay 10 percent and the feds 80 percent.

The money for that is already in hand, secured by then-U.S. Rep. Johnny Isakson in 2003.

The two cities both see the bridge as a signature project that will have “an award-winning” design. It was originally thought to have been anchored to the Roswell Road Chattahoochee Bridge, but now it will apparently be a freestanding bridge visible from the vehicular bridge.

Acenbrak said it would be a prominent feature of the city’s Gateway Project to create a gateway entrance to the city at the river.

“It will be a yearlong process to design the bridge, since it will have a lot of public involvement,” Acenbrak said. “A lot will go into the architectural detail. I could not tell you now if the bridge will cross above or below the current bridge.

“It will be hugely important to Roswell and Sandy Springs,” he said. “Thousands of cars will pass by and see that bridge, so yes, it has to be a signature project.”

It will also conform to be part of the city’s trail system, so it will be at least 10 feet to 12 feet wide, but Acenbrak said it might be even wider, depending on what the design calls for.

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