New GA 400 Exit on Kimball Bridge Road?

GA 400 Flex Lanes on Kimball Bridge Rd

Over the weekend Alpharetta City Council Candidate Ben Burnett invited me to an event hosted by residents along Kimball Bridge Road. For more than an hour the residents shared many questions and comments about a number of concerns but the hottest topic of conversation was traffic along the Kimball Bridge corridor.

KBR design

As many of you may recall the voters of Alpharetta approved a municipal bond project which included road and intersection improvements for the stretch of Kimball Bridge Road between Waters Road and Northpoint Parkway. We talked about those plans and discussed the neighborhood concerns about adding a roundabout where the red light at New Prospect Elementary School is now.

Neighbors also brought up the topic of developments along Northwinds Parkway and Kimball Bridge Road west of GA 400. So Ben and I explained the plans for road improvements being discussed with the Georgia Department of Transportation as part of the TSPLOST project list.

You can find the full list of those projects here. And as we discussed proposed road improvements for the west side of Kimball Bridge Road it became apparent none of the residents along Kimball Bridge Road had any idea that the Georgia Department of Transportation plans to replace their bridge over GA 400 with one that will include on and off ramps for managed toll lanes onto Kimball Bridge.

In fact the residents in attendance were shocked. So I explained that Alpharetta’s Director of Engineering and Public Works had presented plans for the exits to our mayor and council during a public workshop in May. Then I encouraged residents along Kimball Bridge Road to start paying close attention to the Department of Transportation plans because the work is expected to begin in 2020 and if they wait much longer it could be too late.

For those of you not familiar with the Georgia Department of Transportation’s Managed Lane Program for the GA 400 corridor you can read more on their website here. You can also watch video of the public presentation we received at our May 22nd meeting on the Alpharetta city website here. If you follow that link and click on the agenda item number 10 below the video it will skip to the Kimball Bridge discussion which began at the 2:51:30 point of the video.

These days there are so many changes taking place in Alpharetta it is nearly impossible for our residents to keep up. And it could have been a real mess if the families most impacted by toll lane exits on Kimball Bridge Road had not found out until it was too late.

Neighborhood meetings are a great way to keep the lines of communication open between council members and our constituents. I am glad to know Mr. Burnett appreciates that.

 

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Money grubbing bureaucrats find they didn’t need to extend GA 400 tolls after all

According to the article Ga. 400/I-85 to be rebuilt, but was new toll needed?  in the AJC:

… for Ga. 400 toll payers who once expected the toll to expire this year, the congestion relief will be bittersweet.  As they now continue paying the toll for another decade to fund the interchange project and others, there is a new kicker. The bid the state accepted Friday for the project is far lower than the state estimated it would be when it made the case that the toll had to be extended.

So low, it raises the question of whether the toll extension was necessary in the first place.

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The Atlanta Journal-Constitution noted at the time that the toll authority expected to have $42.5 million  in excess toll reserves at the conclusion of the original toll, meaning that the state did not need to extend the  toll to pay for the  I-85/Ga. 400 interchange. However, Perdue, who chaired the authority as governor, replied that not just those projects, but others  along the corridor needed to be done, too.

If bids on all 11 of those Ga. 400 projects — estimated by SRTA last fall at a total of $67 million — come in at the same low rate under the estimates, the state wouldn’t need the new toll to build any of them.

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Gena Evans, director of the toll authority, told a legislative panel earlier this year that eliminating the toll could impair the state’s bond rating as well as confidence with investors in public-private toll projects.

Ms. Evans neglected to mention that removing the toll would also impair her ability to collect a six figure salary as the state’s head toll collector if the tolls stopped as promised.

As a wise man once said,”Once you vote to give the government your money they will do with it what they damn well please.” Remember this any time  government asks you for permission to take more of your money.