GA400 bridge construction yields traffic congestion

By Elizabeth Wilkes
Editor-in-Chief

Many students are finding that their commutes are extended, not only due to normal rush hour traffic, but also because of construction currently in progress at GA400 Exit 6 and Northridge Road, at times backing up vehicles well into the exit lane and beyond.

This hindrance will not be ending anytime soon, with construction on this project officially entitled State Route 400/US 19 at County Road 145/Northridge Road Bridge Replacement not due to be complete until at least September of 2015.

constructionplan_GA400+Northridge

Click for full view of map of the future bridge and roundabout plan

This is currently Stage 1 of construction, which will last until this fall. See below for details from GDOT’s Office of Communications. During this stage, the contractor will be tearing down the north side of the bridge and replacing it.

According to the State Road & Tollway Authority, after the first stage of construction, traffic will be shifted to the north and they will repeat the process for the south side of the bridge until completion. Notably, once the work begins on the south side, in about a year, there will be no pedestrian access across the bridge until the project is complete. The Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) is working with Sandy Springs, MARTA and the schools in the area to accommodate the few pedestrians that traverse the bridge regularly.

In total, the operation will cost at least $7 million and take over 2 years to complete, but the end result should ultimately ease traffic woes for all.

Stage 1:
October 2013 – Fall 2014

• Traffic will be shifted to four lanes on the south side of the existing Northridge Road bridge over SR 400 while the north side of the new bridge and roadway, including curb and gutter, sidewalk, and drainage are being constructed.

• To accommodate traffic volumes during this stage, the roadway shoulder will be expanded to carry traffic.

• Work on the east side of Roberts Drive along with widening of the north side of the ramp intersections will occur at this time.

• Pedestrian access will be across the south side of the bridge.

• Lane shifts will result in one less lane on Northridge.

• In order to reduce the traffic impacts later, the contractor has requested to work for 15 consecutive nights to prepare for construction of the new bridge. This work may have noise impacts for nearby residents and businesses, but will shorten the duration of the project traffic impacts. The additional night work will be from 9:00 PM through 5:00 AM during off peak hours which will allow the contractor to provide two (2) lanes of traffic in both directions during this construction stage.

• The alternative to allowing the fifteen (15) consecutive nights is that there will be lane closures every Saturday and Sunday from 9:00 AM until 6:00 PM for a minimum of four (4) months. The lane closure will consist of only having one (1) open lane in each direction going across the bridge which will cause very congested traffic conditions during the day.

• In late October, the north side of the existing bridge will be removed. Traffic will remain in four lanes on the south side of the existing bridge and pedestrian access will remain across the south side of the bridge.

• Once the bridge pilings are complete, work will begin on construction of the new bridge structure.

• There will be periodic single-lane closures on GA 400, both northbound and southbound, during both stages of the project.

• Throughout the project duration, work will be confied primarily to nights and weekends to minimize impacts on traffic.

• Construction Stage 1 is scheduled to last approximately one year.

See the pdf from GDOT’s office of communications for additional details.

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