ALPHARETTA, Ga. — Motorists who use Rucker Road for their daily commute should brace for a change in plans soon.
Beginning May 28, the road will be closed to accelerate ongoing construction and to allow crews to build a bridge just west of Welford Trace, construct two roundabouts and rebuild the road.
Only residents who live within the closure area will have access.
“The ability to completely close the road for two summers is also allowing us to complete a three-year construction project in less than two years,” said Alpharetta Public Works Director Pete Sewczwicz. “No matter how we do the work, there will be an inconvenience to the public, but this will let us get through the project and out of everyone’s way a lot faster.”
The roundabouts will be placed at the intersection with Charlotte Drive and the intersection with Dennis Drive and Fairfax Drive. Other improvements include sidewalks along both sides of the roadway, narrowing travel lanes, new trees and planted medians.
“The project is designed to improve safety and traffic flow while reducing vehicle travel speeds and providing pedestrian enhancements,” said Assistant City Administrator James Drinkard.
Work will coincide with summer break for Fulton County Schools and is expected to run through Aug. 10.
Rucker Road will be closed from Alpharetta city limits, near Houze Road, to Wills Road. Commuters traveling west to east are encouraged to use the detour down Houze Road to Hembree Road to Ga. 9 and vice versa.
Signage directing motorists to detours will be placed in the area once the closure goes into effect. The city will also inform Google Maps, WAZE and other navigation services about the closure.
Last summer, the corridor was inaccessible to motorists for three months while crews replaced a bridge and moved utilities. The closure became a headache when another major east-west corridor, a large portion of Mayfield Road, was closed as well for an emergency culvert replacement.
It created considerable congestion and delays on roads that were never intended to carry daily commuters, Drinkard said. But, the city is not expecting a similar problem this year, Sewczwicz said.
“We understand that the closure of Rucker Road for three months will significantly inconvenience residents who live along it as well as a large number of commuters who travel to and from Alpharetta from Cherokee and Cobb Counties,” Sewczwicz said. “Unfortunately, that is unavoidable, but we will not see anywhere near the impacts that happened last year because there will not be other significant road closures happening at the same time.”
The $18.5 million Rucker Road improvement project is funded by a general obligation bond approved by Alpharetta voters in May 2016. The City of Roswell has approved a similar project for its portion of Rucker Road and will be carried out by the same contractor used for Alpharetta’s portion.
Relocation of Fulton County water lines and overhead utility lines have been a major part of the project, Drinkard said.
“Water line work is now 90 percent complete,” he said. “But relocation of the overhead utilities has taken much longer than anticipated due to the number of rain days experienced in 2018 and utility crews being pulled from the job to participate in recovery efforts from the hurricane damage in Florida and South Georgia.”
The majority of the Rucker Road improvement project is expected to be complete by late fall. Some landscaping and beautification work may extend into spring 2020.