Alpharetta and North Fulton Community Improvement District officials turned Westside Parkway into a parking lot this afternoon, but it was only a prelude to the road's long-awaited opening an hour or so later.
"This is the road that wouldn't be built but got built anyway," said Alpharetta Mayor David Belle Isle.
Belle Isle said in 2009 when the ribbon was cut for the southern section of Westside, connecting with Mansell Road, the thought was that in just a few months they'd all be back together to open this section.
"We had a foreclosure here, we had a bankruptcy here. We had a dispute among the property owners," the mayor said.
Fast Facts About Westside Parkway
- The speed limit is 40 mph.
- Westide Parkway runs between Mansell Road near exit 8 on GA 400 to Windward Parkway near exit 11.
- Deerfield Parkway "extends" Westside from Windward north to GA 9 in Milton beside Kohl's.
- A two-lane road, Old Roswell Road, connects Westside south down to Holcomb Bridge.
- Georgia has had four governors and three different state flags since Westside Parkway planning first began.
Moses Brown, vice chairman of the North Fulton CID said the group's goal is to enhance the quality of life in North Fulton. Making infrastructure improvements is part of how that goal is achieved. It was formed in 2003 to help gt the southern section of Westside built.
"As many of you know, our first major project was the replacement of an aging two-lane bridge down on Old Roswell. The CID invested $1.2 million in what was to be a $25 million project," Brown said.
The city and the North Fulton CID hosted a ribbon cutting and a parade of cars to celebrate the opening of the final piece of the corridor built to take local traffic off of GA 400–and hopefully GA 9 also, according to Brandon Beach. The president and CEO of the North Fluton Chamber of Commerce was wearing many hats today. The chamber supported construction of the project since the 1990s, and even formed the North Fulton CID when a GA Department of Transportation Commissioner said the state had no money to build the road after a promise by Wayne Schackleford, the previous commissioner.
Thomas Enterprises agreed to build this last section between Old Milton and Webb Bridge as part of its zoning conditions for Prospect Park. But when the economy took a nosedive with the housing bust, the development headed into bankruptcy. Thomas Enterprises put about $10 million into construction of this section, Beach said. It just needed to be topped and striped, and have guardrails and medians put in, which was frustrating.
"But we couldn't do it because we didn't own the property, the city didn't, nor the state. It was owned by a private entity and we could not put public dollars on a private road," Beach said.
North American Properties deeded the road to the city, he said.
Bill Hamlin of CW Matthews promised to work crews day and night to finish the project quickly, Beach said.