Plans for the widening of the Turner McCall Boulevard bridge over the Etowah River and a Norfolk Southern rail spur are on the drawing board, but the state has no idea at this point when funding might be available.
Georgia Department of Transportation District Six Pre-construction engineer David Acree told Rome Floyd Chamber of Commerce Transportation committee members Wednesday the state is considering four, six and eight-lane alternatives.
Acree said for the most part, the project is on hold because of funding, but the state does have a consultant on board reviewing traffic and financial data to determine the best alternative to be ready when money becomes available. Cost estimates for the three alternatives range from $13.2 million for an improved four-lane bridge to $16.7 million for a six-lane bridge and $21.6 million for an eight-lane bridge.
"This is all conceptual," Acree stressed to the Chamber panel.
"How much would it cost if y'all started next week?" asked businessman Tom Bennett.
"That's what's being worked out right now," Acree responded.
Acree said consultants are projecting the bridge to accommodate 48,800 vehicles per day by 2040. Businessman Nathan Roberts said that kind of volume doesn't begin to approach what would warrant an eight-lane bridge.
"Turner McCall will never be more than six lanes so I don't know why you'd need an eight-lane bridge," Bennett said.
Funding aside, Acree said big challenges for the project remain right-of-way acquisition and impact on businesses leading up to either side of the bridge and the lack of a really good detour alternative.
Acree also updated the committee on several other major transportation projects including the Rome to Cartersville Economic Development Corridor. He said a final route was chosen last year, right-of-way purchasing is scheduled to begin late in 2020 and construction funding is tentatively slated for late 2022.
A new federal Interchange Justification Report for the link to I-75 at Old Grassdale Road is to be submitted to federal highway officials in May.
The next section of the Rome Bypass, from Ga. 101 around to U.S. 411 East is scheduled for construction funding in 2022 while the southern section from U.S. 27 near Georgia Highlands College around to Ga. 101 is currently slated for funding in 2024.
GDOT also announced the award of a $2,469,991 contract to resurface just over 10 miles of Ga. 100 in Floyd and Polk counties. E.R. Snell Inc. was the low bidder for work from just north of U.S. 278 near Cedartown to U.S. 411 in Cave Spring. The project is scheduled to be done by the end of January 2019.