ROSWELL, Ga. — Roswell is on course to decide the look of a bridge on one of its major corridors: the Holcomb Bridge Road interchange at Ga. 400.

At a special called work session Oct. 30, the mayor and City Council discussed preferences and priorities for the bridge aesthetics. The discussion encompassed two additional bridges over Ga. 400: one to the north of Holcomb Bridge as part of the city’s Big Creek Parkway project, and one to the south that will be part of GDOT’s express lanes project.

The discussion came out of an agreement between the city and GDOT.

Roswell City Council approved realignment plans for Big Creek Parkway on Sept. 9 to save some $17 million in TSPLOST funds that will instead be applied toward a Ga. 400 and Holcomb Bridge Road interchange improvement project with GDOT.

As a part of the memorandum of understanding between the city and the state, Roswell agreed to provide $15 million for the project and GDOT promised $23 million. Another $21 million will come from federal grants to accommodate a future bus-rapid transit system. 

With $15 million pledged for the interchange improvement project, the city reserved the remaining $2 million for bridge aesthetics at the interchange and the future express-lanes bridge south of the existing bridge. 

Aesthetics costs for the Holcomb Bridge interchange bridge alone are estimated at $5 million total, said Director of Transportation Muhammad Rauf.

That leaves the city at least $3 million short.

The Big Creek Parkway bridge has a separate $2.5 million earmarked for aesthetics.

There is a deadline to make a decision, Rauf said. The City Council must come up with a decision about the bridge aesthetic details by Dec. 9 to keep the project on track with GDOT.

“We’re just telling them what we want,” Rauf said. “What type of fence we want, what kind of texture we want, what kind of lining we want… Otherwise, it is going to be all plain concrete.”

Some of the improvements the city must provide GDOT for its initial designs include structural upgrades, decorative bridge components, lighting infrastructure, raised planters and any specialty paving.

The city may create or update some design choices in the future, such as landscaping and public art.

Mayor Lori Henry said that at this stage, securing the infrastructure of the bridge is the most important factor so the city would not limit itself on possible future aesthetic choices.

“This is going to be a fluid document going forward,” she said. “But we do have a deadline.”

Rauf said city staff and stakeholders have already narrowed the aesthetics to create a unique look consistent with Roswell’s character and to match all three bridges. 

Councilmember Matt Judy floated the idea of adding a unique element to tie together all three bridges, something “that shows that you’re in Roswell.”

As a part of the process, the city conducted an online visual preference survey Nov. 6-13 for residents to provide input and rank bridge aesthetic options. The matter is expected to go before the transportation committee on Nov. 20 and then to the Dec. 9 City Council meeting for a formal vote.

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