Gridlock Guy: Positivity abounds on the bridges of Fulton County

Traffic news is often gloomy and frustrating. Stories about state and local road work can be positive, but often get negatively connotated because projects call for lane closures and they often run past deadlines and over budgets.

Hearts be still - we have good news. Several long term bridge closures in Georgia’s most populous county just wrapped or are about to finish.

A year to the day after GDOT closed Kimball Bridge Road’s span over GA-400 to rebuild it, the Alpharetta road reopened the morning of Wednesday, May 8th. The bridge project also finished on time, which is never a given.

GDOT says that work will continue on the bridge, as crews install paths for bikes and pedestrians. But the through lanes will remain open.

The Kimball Bridge rebuild joins both Pitts Road and Roberts Drive, whose bridges have been closed over GA-400 for similar rebuilds. Roberts Dr. also reopened in late April. Each bridge was around 50 years-old and due for the reconstruction, a City of Alpharetta press release stated. Pitts in Sandy Springs is also scheduled to reopen in the next couple of months.

All three of these refurbishments have caused lane-shifts or reductions on GA-400, which have created some slow traffic. So the projects’ conclusions will eventually help traffic above and on the freeway.

Ramp closures that included two flyover bridges in Sandy Springs opened about four weeks ahead of time. The GA-400/southbound ramp to the Glenridge Connector (Exit 3) and the I-285/westbound (Outer Loop) feeder ramp to the same exit closed on Friday, April 26th. They were scheduled to open five weeks later, but stayed shut for less than two weeks, also opening on May 8th. These are new bridges that needed final adjustments; these were not full rebuilds. Last Wednesday was a good day for closed bridges in North Fulton.

The finished ramps are one of the last cogs in the massive, seven-year Transform 285/400 project. The last major step in that overhaul will be a much needed repave of the entire stretch of I-285 in that area later this year.

Nearby, Mount Vernon’s closure over I-285 got accelerated by a truck hitting it last September 27th. When that big rig carrying large construction equipment scraped under the aging bridge that Wednesday midday, the inspection and damage shut most of I-285 in both directions for hours.

GDOT then decided that the old bridge would not be worth rebuilding and opening, since they were already going to build a new bridge. So they deconstructed it and started on the new one, which opened on April 22 - a couple of months ahead of time.

The good news in Fulton County continues even for beleaguered Cheshire Bridge. That bridge over Peachtree Creek in Northeast Atlanta first got damaged by fire in August of 2021 and did not open until Halloween in 2022. Then just before Christmas last year, another fire in a homeless encampment damaged and shut the bridge.

The community there sighed at the thought of another year of detours and lost business.

But Atlanta’s DOT announced recently that the bridge should open on Tuesday, May 14th, just shy of six months after the closure. That will be a big relief for an artery that has been closed for nearly three out of the last four years.

Nearby in DeKalb County, North Druid Hills Road’s bridge over Peachtree Creek, just west of I-85, began a three-month closure on April 26th, the same day that the Glenridge ramp bridges closed. Given the amount of time needed to rebuild some of the aforementioned bridges, 90 days seems like an ambitious completion date. Since a couple of these projects finished ahead of time, maybe the North Druid Hills bridge crew can follow suit.

Note that the plan for North Druid Hills also includes changes to the I-85/northbound exit ramps and how they interact with the access road next to the new Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta Hospital there. The project also calls for a displaced left turn for westbound North Druid Hills drivers that seek I-85/southbound.

Examples of these displaced turns include Highway 78 at Highway 124 in Snellville and GA-400 at Highway 53 in Dawsonville. Similar to the Diverging Diamond Interchanges that have been built around Metro Atlanta in the last 12 years, displaced left turns commit drivers early to those turns and actually put them on the other side of the road, eliminating turning across oncoming traffic.

As the city grows and bridges age, road work will never stop. Thankfully, the end is in sight for these retooled and rebuilt bridges of Fulton County.

Doug Turnbull, the PM drive Skycopter anchor for Triple Team Traffic on 95.5 WSB, is the Gridlock Guy. Download the Triple Team Traffic Alerts App to hear reports from the WSB Traffic Team automatically when you drive near trouble spots. Contact him at

Comments on this article





mobile apps

Everything you love about and more! Tap on any of the buttons below to download our app.

amazon alexa

Enable our Skill today to listen live at home on your Alexa Devices!