Three lane road diet back on the table for Avondale Estates’ U.S. 278

The state’s Department of Transportation has told Avondale Estates that it’s eligible for a road diet along U.S. 278 between Ashton Place and Sam’s Crossing.

This would mean cutting the current five lanes down to three (removing one east and one west bound lane) and having bike lanes in each direction. It would also mean wider sidewalks and more effective pedestrian crossings (with hawk lights), consistent with the city’s goal of connecting its commercial district with residential.

GDOT had previously rejected an identical plan in December 2015, saying it would slow traffic along a critical state corridor. In March 2016 the city devised a compromise plan with four lanes, but in December asked GDOT to re-examine the three-lane scenario.

“From what I understand they went back and looked at the traffic studies,” said City Manager Clai Brown. “I think their [agreeing to three lanes] was based entirely on that.”

The tentative price for the four-lane project was $2.8 million, but the three-lane version is “more intense,” Brown said, and will likely cost more. Eighty percent will come from an Atlanta Regional Commission grant, and 20 percent from the city.

Brown said the project unfolds in three stages, planning and engineering, right of way acquisition and construction. Tentative finish is the middle of 2021.