Plan to widen Haynes Bridge Road may get nixed for Alpharetta, Johns Creek

Plans to widen Haynes Bridge Road along a busy section that runs through Johns Creek and Alpharetta are close to being nixed.
Plans to widen Haynes Bridge Road along a busy section that runs through Johns Creek and Alpharetta are close to being nixed.

The plan to widen Haynes Bridge Road along a busy section running through Johns Creek and Alpharetta is close to being nixed.

Alpharetta is no longer a partner on the project that would’ve widened the road from two to four lanes from Old Alabama Road in Johns Creek to Mansell Road in Alpharetta, adding a sidewalk and trail. During a Monday meeting, Johns Creek City Council members argued for and against moving forward with the multimillion dollar project.

Johns Creek Mayor Mike Bodker advised Council members to abandon the project and redirect its funds to other construction.

Busy Haynes Bridge Road draws traffic 47% over capacity. The road was built to handle 12,390 cars per day, according to Johns Creek, but instead attracts more than 18,000.

The two cities first agreed to partner in 2018 on $10 million in reconstruction of the road, but Johns Creek delays in project work, rising construction costs and residents worried about the impact of the road widening on their neighborhood caused Alpharetta to back out of the agreement, Assistant City Administrator James Drinkard told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Designs called for right-of-way acquisition of an entire Alpharetta residential property in Haynes Forest subdivision and eliminated left turns into the neighborhood, Drinkard said.

“The design would’ve taken out a house,” he said. “We’re not interested in doing that. We heard very clearly from residents (the designs were) a problem for them.”

The cities would’ve evenly split costs for the road widening using Tier 1 funds from the Transportation Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax approved by Fulton County voters in November, 2016.

So far, $500,000 has been spent on designs, officials said.

Officials in both cities said John Creek caused a two-year delay in the project with indecisiveness and design changes.

Drinkard said construction, which was costly before the pandemic, has “skyrocketed.”

“When we looked at the issues for the neighborhood and what the project would achieve, the math didn’t make sense anymore,” Drinkard said. “We felt we would be better off using it for some other road projects within the TSPLOST list.”

Johns Creek is working to figure out a way to go forward with the roadwork and officials expressed hope that Alpharetta would rejoin the project later. Johns Creek City Council asked staff on Monday to come up with new ideas to get started with a first phase that would widen a stretch of the corridor from Old Alabama to the Alpharetta line at Alvin Road.

During discussion, Council members debated the wisdom of the project. Johns Creek Councilman Lenny Zaprowski, who is against continuing the project, said residents in Alpharetta’s Haynes Forest neighborhood would still be impacted (but not displaced) by a new sidewalk and trail because Johns Creek owns the right-of-way.

“First of all, we’re building the sidewalk in Alpharetta basically,” he said to fellow Council members. “And now we’re going to actually, in my opinion, disrupt those people because if you know how far that road is to the houses, it’s not very far ... I just think that’s (an injustice).”

Bodker suggested the city redirect the project funds to Medlock Bridge Road intersection improvements.

“My recommendation is that we could do more good by reprogramming that money,” Bodker said.

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