A week from Thursday the top end of Haynes Bridge Road will be closed so the rerouting of the road can be completed by the end of the year.
Hurricanes and tropical storms pulled Georgia Power, AT&T and other utility company crews away from Georgia, creating a major delay in the road project, according to Pete Sewczwicz, director of the Department of Engineering and Public Works.
"We are about four months behind schedule," he said.
Sewczwicz said city staff has been working with CW Matthews to find a way to speed the process up. He presented the solution to City Council at their meeting Monday night, Oct. 1.
"That is to close Haynes Bridge Road between Old Milton and Academy Street until Dec. 31," he said.
"This was news to me today," Mayor David Belle Isle said at the end of the report.
Obviously it's no fun closing a portion of the road, he said. But he appreciated the solution staff developed.
Councilman Chris Owens said he knew that at some point the existing Haynes Bridge Road would have to be closed, at least to allow a roundabout to be built.
Councilman Jim Gilvin asked Sewczwicz how long the project would be delayed if the city didn't close this section of road. The department head said it could be three to four months longer before the road project was completed.
The current requirements restrict road construction work to 9 a.m.-4 p.m. But with the road closed, Sewczwicz said construction could run from 7 a.m.-7 p.m. He admitted daylight would not be available at 7, but the contractor can use lights.
His staff sent back CW Matthews' detour plan for some more work. Six variable message boards will be positioned so motorists can find ways around the detour. The main detour route will be Westside Parkway, which has been in the city's plans to move more through traffic off its downtown streets at rush hours.
Closing a major road, even this small section between Old Milton Parkway and Academy Street, has effects that go beyond just through traffic. Publix, a major grocery store in downtown Alpharetta, could be drastically affected.
But Sewczwicz and his staff came up with a solution here, too. The "lower" entrance to the Publix center, by the Chase Bank branch, will be open for traffic to those shops. He said the median will be torn up by that entrance, allowing motorists to turn north onto Haynes Bridge at Old Milton, but only to use this entrance to Publix and Chase Bank. Likewise, shoppers and bank customers can leave the parking lot in a right out only turn back to the Old Milton intersection.
"CW [Matthews] feels confident that, weather permitting, they will be able to get 99 percent of the project done before the end of the year," Sewczwicz said. "We told them you need to have that road open by the end of the year."
He said they hope the paving his completed by Thanksgiving, with brick pavers, fine grading and other work coming in the following weeks.