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Roswell prioritizing road projects with slimmer budget

Crews will be patching Holcomb Bridge Road in Roswell during the overnight hours Friday and Sunday from Mansell Road to the Gwinnett County line, the Georgia Department of Transportation announced. AJC FILE
Crews will be patching Holcomb Bridge Road in Roswell during the overnight hours Friday and Sunday from Mansell Road to the Gwinnett County line, the Georgia Department of Transportation announced. AJC FILE

The 14 transportation projects Roswell had planned for the next fiscal year could be whittled down to just three because of impending budget cuts brought on by the pandemic.

Roswell City Council will hear details of the projects that are recommended to go forward at a work session Tuesday and could vote on the new priorities at a later meeting.

Cities everywhere are looking at less revenue coming in than anticipated due to the coronavirus pandemic. Business license fees, local option sales taxes, alcohol excise taxes, and hotel and motel taxes are some areas where revenues will have decreased because of the temporary shutdown of local business activity.

Roswell transportation director Muhammad Rauf did not confirm the transportation projects that he would recommend for funding in the new fiscal year, which begins in July. But he said any projects taken off the list would be moved to the following year.

But, the budget isn’t the only factor for transportation projects, said Rauf. There could be less of a need for some road projects if a new trend emerges of more employees working from home, lightening traffic congestion.

“If we had one left turn lane at an intersection and have a project to add a turn lane, then I don’t know if another lane is going to be needed,” he said. “If there’s not as many people on the road, congestion is probably not going to be as bad.”

The director said he evaluates the need for road projects based on several considerations: Expanding roadways to accomodate more traffic is a consideration, as are improvements that help drivers navigate, such as new striping.

An existing road safety improvement that Roswell has in the works is the Atlanta Street Historic Gateway project, which would eliminate a reversible lane of traffic and widens the road to 4 lanes. Construction is not scheduled until 2023, but design work must be funded in the next fiscal year, said Rauf.

The Historic Gateway project will cost about $50 million with 80% funded by the Georgia Department of Transportation, he said.