ROSWELL, Ga. — Roswell officials have yet to come up with a final plan for the future of Big Creek Parkway.
The Roswell City Council met at an Aug. 12 work session to discuss the $58.5 TSPLOST project and the possibility of partnering with GDOT for intersection improvements at the Ga. 400 and Holcomb Bridge Road interchange.
The City Council originally passed the Big Creek Parkway project in 2013 to improve connectivity and reduce congestion along Holcomb Bridge Road by creating another route across Ga. 400. The route would play a similar role as Alpharetta’s Encore Parkway by allowing residents to cross the city without interacting with the interchange.
However, earlier this year, the city approached GDOT about a potential partnership to redesign and replace the Ga. 400 interchange as part of the state’s Ga. 400 express lane project.
To support that possibility, Roswell came up with a plan that could save millions on Big Creek Parkway and funnel the savings into a partnership with GDOT. It all hinges on a redesign of Big Creek Parkway, which removes some portion of the original design and includes possible future upgrades and connections. The modification would still handle about the same amount of traffic, save the city $17 million — which could be put toward the partnership with GDOT — and reduce wetland impact and residential displacement.
Regardless of which plan the city moves forward with, staff said they would still provide bike lanes, sidewalks and multi-use trails on the new road.
The decision on whether or not to partner with GDOT is time sensitive. GDOT’s express lanes project is moving ahead regardless of Roswell’s decision. If the city doesn’t provide an answer at the Sept. 9 City Council meeting, Roswell Director of Transportation Muhammad Rauf said it’s unlikely GDOT will revisit the Ga. 400 corridor again for another two or three decades.
“We’ve got a time crunch here,” said Councilman Matt Judy. “We need to think long and hard about how we make this happen, because this is a once-in-a-generation situation. I’d hate to see this pass us by.”
The major concern on the table for officials and staff is cost.
GDOT said it would be willing to partner with the city if Roswell agreed to a 60/40 split for the $38 million interchange improvement project. That would leave Roswell responsible for $23 million of the bill. If the city were to pay that portion, it would not be able to fund all of Big Creek Parkway’s plans as presented, Rauf said.
That split is unacceptable, said Councilman Marcelo Zapata. GDOT should be paying the majority of the costs, he added.
Councilman Matthew Tyser echoed the sentiment, saying that he wants to see at least a 50/50 split.
Rauf said transportation staff is exploring a few “lite” possibilities for some of the Big Creek Parkway connections and upgrades that could save the city additional funds to use for the GDOT partnership.
Time ran short at the meeting before any decision could be reached. Officials decided to continue the discussion at the next Aug. 26 work session. Mayor Lori Henry additionally asked to start the next work session 30 minutes earlier, at 5 p.m., to avoid a similar situation.
For more information about the project, visit roswellgov.com.