To that end, the Georgia Department of Transportation and the city of Sandy Springs held a public meeting at City Hall Tuesday.
The open house event was designed to give interested parties an opportunity to peruse the final designs and quiz transportation officials on the construction for the bridge and planned interchange improvements.
Longtime Sandy Springs resident Willis Lanier, whose home is located off the Northridge exit, was among those who attended Tuesday’s gathering.
“I just want to know what will be going on for the next few years,” Lanier said.
Utility crews are expected to begin their work in the middle of this month in advance of active construction, which is set to get under way Oct. 4. The project is scheduled to continue through fall 2014.
Lanier, who has lived in the city for 40 years, acknowledged that he is bracing for the growing pains typically associated with such an undertaking.
“We suffered through the inconvenience of the construction of Dunwoody Place for a lot of months, but it’s great now,” said Lanier. “Even though it’s going to take two years — that’s a long time to be disrupted — but I’m sure [authorities] will try their best to keep the traffic flowing.
“The more information they put out ahead of putting the first [traffic] cone out, the better the people will accept it, I think.”
The GDOT project will entail widening 0.4 miles along Northridge, from just west of Dunwoody Place to just east of Somerset Court. A roundabout will be constructed at the Northridge-Somerset intersection.
The new bridge will feature five 11-foot travel lanes, one 13-foot free-flow exit lane and two 4-foot bicycle lanes.
The latter was a sticking point for cycling enthusiasts like Sandy Springs District 2 Councilwoman Diane Fries during negotiations to implement bike lanes and sidewalks on the new bridge during construction.
“This is an area that’s ridden a lot by cyclists, so it’s important to us … we worked it out, but there are still some kinks in it,” Fries said. “Not everybody loves the plan, but at least there’s going to be room. … It’s so important to a lot of folks to have those bike lanes and the pedestrian walkways.”
Stage 1 of the overhaul will involve lane closures, beginning in October, said GDOT spokesman Mark McKinnon.
“We don’t know exactly where those lanes are going to be closed yet because we haven’t had that meeting with the contractor,” McKinnon said. “About a year from now, when we’ll be going into Stage 2, we’ll have a different set of lane closures.”