From Susan Long with the Perimeter Community Improvement Districts
Work started Wednesday to prepare the I-285 and Ashford Dunwoody Road Diverging Diamond Interchange (DDI) for the installation of a distinctive landscaping design that will showcase the innovative Perimeter interchange.
E.R. Snell Contractors will spend two weeks removing sod, existing crape myrtle trees and three large pine trees, then the week of Feb. 4 will begin a week of grading the site. The installation of landscaping materials will start in mid-February and be completed by the end of March.
The Georgia Department of Transportation included basic funding for landscaping in the DDI construction contract. The Perimeter Community Improvement Districts (PCIDs) voted to add $300,000 to that amount to create an approximately $450,000 landscape plan that features 262 “Winter King” Hawthorne trees providing year-round color at Georgia’s first DDI.
The PCIDs is funded by commercial property owners who voluntarily pay additional property taxes to help make transportation improvements.
PCIDs President and CEO Yvonne Williams said the organization “was very committed to finding reuses for all of the trees that must be removed. However, moving the trees is expensive and we were unable to find nonprofits who were interested in taking them.”
“The new Hawthorne trees are hardy, drought resistant and require little care,” Williams noted. “They will be planted in groves and provide brilliant red berries in the winter and white blooms in the spring and summer.”
Native grasses and Bermuda sod will be planted around the trees and will be used to fill smaller landscape islands in the interchange.
The Ashford-Dunwoody Road DDI serves as the one of the primary entrances to the metro Atlanta’s dominant office district and one of the region’s largest employment centers with 123,000 workers.