The $10.1 million project that widened 1.8 miles of Snapfinger Road between Wesley Chapel Road and Flat Shoals Parkway has left the community with a 20-foot-wide median of weeds.
Margaret Williams, who lives in the Snapfinger Lake subdivision, said it is irritating to look at it every day.
“I just got sick and tired of looking at how tall those weeds are,” she said.
Larry Anderson, who attended the September 1999 meeting at which the project was first unveiled to the community, said he knew the “landscaped median” was a bad idea.
“I told them it was going to become a trash receptacle and that is what is happening,” he said. “Large grassy areas like that are never maintained in our community. Just look at Flat Shoals Parkway.”
The median, which was planted in grass and without the trees and plants that the community was promised, has now become a big eyesore.
Williams said she got the runaround at DeKalb County government last week before she was finally given a telephone number for the Georgia Department of Transportation.
“They came the next day and cut it,” she said. “But they didn’t cut the sidewalks.”
On Thursday, waist-high weeds threatened to cover sections of the new road.
Anderson said he was and is opposed to medians with grass because of the community’s experience with getting the county and GDOT to maintain them.
“Everybody who drives down Flat Shoals Road knows it,” he said. “It’s not maintained regularly; the grass is allowed to grow really tall before it’s cut. Then there is so much grass clippings that is just left there.”
Even though the community was shown maps and diagrams with trees and shrubs when the project was introduced, GDOT is now saying that “landscaped” was never part of the plan for the Snapfinger Road median.
Responding to questions Thursday from CrossRoadsNews about when the promised trees and flowers would be installed along the median, GDOT spokesman Mark McKinnon said “landscaping was not included on this project.”
“Georgia DOT stopped including landscaping from projects in 1999 due to drought,” he said.
But as late as Dec. 1, 2004, when the Atlanta Regional Commission officially approved its Mobility 2030 Transportation Plan that included the Snapfinger Road widening, the project’s description included a “20-foot-wide landscaped median.”
Between September 1999 and 2009, when the project started, the construction costs – for two lanes in each direction, a 20-foot landscaped median, turn lanes at all intersections, paved sidewalks on both sides of the road and 4-foot bike lanes in each direction – went from $4 million to $10.1 million.
As ugly as an all-concrete median would look, Anderson said it would be better than overgrown grass.
“We know we are not going to get any consistent maintenance,” he said. “I would prefer if they dig up the grass and pave it. It may be harsh looking, but it would be better than seeing a hundred species of weed growing there.”