After years of talk and planning but very little change, a Complete Street initiative that could make one of Atlanta’s most rapidly developing corridors friendlier to non-motorists and more efficient overall has received full funding, according to city officials.
The Atlanta City Council approved legislation this week that authorizes $21.5 million for the Atlanta Department of Transportation to move forward with selecting contractors to build out the Howell Mill Complete Street Project.
The Complete Streets overhaul of Howell Mill was once expected to begin in 2017—adding bike lanes, upgraded sidewalks and bus stops, fresh pavement, and new turn lanes—but was later axed from Renew Atlanta’s $250 million project list. Until this week, it still hadn’t been fully funded.
Following the council’s unanimous decision, District 9 councilmember Dustin Hillis released a statement noting the city will be piloting an incentive program with the Howell Mill project. The goal? To see large capital project completed in the city within 12 to 18 months of contracts being awarded.
Since being elected in 2017, “getting the Howell Mill Complete Street Project fully funded and to the construction phase has been one of my highest transportation priorities,” Hillis’ statement reads. “I look forward to seeing Howell Mill transform into a more efficient, pedestrian and cyclist-friendly corridor.”
Despite a surge of private development, the three-lane roadway snaking through neighborhoods such as Home Park and Marietta Street Artery has been mostly unchanged in recent years, apart from a few new crosswalks.
Meanwhile, since 2018, more than 1,100 apartments and townhomes have delivered in the blocks between 14th and 10th streets alone, with hundreds more in the pipeline. Star Metals Offices, a new office building, and the mixed-use district that is Interlock’s first phase have also come together in the same area.
Exactly what a modified Howell Mill Road could look like isn’t yet clear. The City of Atlanta's Department of Procurement, acting on behalf of the Atlanta Department of Transportation (ATLDOT), opened the bidding process in November for qualified contractors who could tackle the project. All bids were due by early December.
ATLDOT’s website lists the project as being in design phases now, with a tentative construction start date of October this year and completion in early 2026. That department’s description of planned Howell Mill Road changes reads as follows:
The project “includes resurfacing, restriping, new fiber communication between intersections, signals upgrades, partial corridor raised bicycle lanes, sidewalk repairs, additional mid-block crossings, three new signalized intersections, partial road diet, and ADA upgrades from Marietta Street to Collier Road.”
The section of Howell Mill Road in question spans from West Marietta Street near Georgia Tech, up to Norfleet Street, just north of Interstate 75 and the Publix-anchored Howell Mill Village. That’s a distance of about 2.4 miles.
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