Buckhead’s Paces neighborhood urges opposition to I-75 ramp onto Howell Mill

Residents of Buckhead’s Paces neighborhood are urging opposition to a plan to add a ramp from I-75 directly onto Howell Mill Road.

A Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) plan calls for connecting I-75’s Exit 255 at Northside Parkway to Howell Mill via a U-shaped “slip ramp.” The ramp would bypass the intersections of Northside and Howell Mill. A public comment period on the plan runs through Nov. 14.

GDOT claims in a presentation that the ramp is needed to lessen collisions and backups at the Northside Parkway intersection both now and following future development. The Paces Civic Association (PCA) is among neighborhood groups saying there’s no evidence the Howell Mill ramp would help, and they’re concerned about stormwater runoff. 

“This project is proposed to relieve the existing excessive vehicular congestion, reduce traffic crashes, and prepare for an increase in vehicular and pedestrian traffic of a quickly developing portion of the City of Atlanta,” says a GDOT presentation.

“The proposed project would cause substantial harm to our community due to the tremendous amount of water that would be routed into Nancy Creek/Peachtree Creek,” said Marie Macadam, the PCA’s vice president of community planning, in a Nov. 4 email to members. “Properties adjacent to these waterways would inevitably incur substantially more flooding than currently exists. In addition, the already bad sewer spills experienced on some lots could multiply as well.”

Community groups rejected a similar proposal in 2020, the PCA says, amid concerns the ramp really was intended to serve nearby private development. The PCA did not respond to a comment request about that.

“This is the same project that we defeated in 2020,” Macadam said in the email. “Our goal is to defeat the project again. To achieve that goal, we need support from all the neighborhoods and neighbors, even those that are not directly impacted.”

A GDOT spokesperson could not immediately comment on the development claim and the stormwater concerns. GDOT’s presentation includes general information about the agency’s standards for handling stormwater.

GDOT says the project would cost $600,000 and is slated for construction in fiscal year 2025. 

Comments can be sent to GDOT through Nov. 14 at this link.

The ramp proposal comes as GDOT recently drew controversy with another, much larger plan near Buckhead: widenings, pedestrian access features and other changes to a long stretch of Northside Drive roughly between I-20 at Atlanta University Center and I-75 on the Buckhead border.