People who are concerned about traffic in the city of Seven Hills haven’t seen anything yet if the GDOT timetable for a series of projects locally plays out as the state now projects.
Albert Shelby, Georgia Department of Transportation Director of Program Delivery, provided updates on a series of major of projects in Floyd County.
Replacement of the Turner McCall Boulevard bridge over a Norfolk Southern rail line and Etowah River is at the top of the list. The existing bridge, deemed structurally deficient, was constructed in 1956.
Right of way acquisition is scheduled to begin in the Spring of 2021 with construction bids slated for 2022. The $9 million project will include four 12-foot lanes, two 12-foot auxiliary lanes, a 16-foot raised median and 5-foot sidewalks.
“The project team is currently preparing the environmental approval,” Shelby said.
Two other significant bridge replacement projects are also on the GDOT work list. Plans call for the replacement of the Martha Berry Highway Bridge over Big Dry Creek just before Three Mile Road, and replacement of the Kingston Road Bridge over Dykes Creek.
The bridge over Big Dry Creek was constructed 72 years ago. Right of way acquisition will get underway in 2020 with construction bids early in 2021. That’s a $7 million project.
The Dykes Creek bridge, last improved in 1970, is on the books for right-of-way funds in 2021 and construction money in 2022.
“We’re currently working on the environmental document,” Shelby said of the $3 million project.
The South Rome Bypass from U.S. 27 south of Georgia Highlands College around to Ga. 101, a 3.3 mile segment that was held up when a bald eagle’s nest was found in the right-of-way a couple of years ago, is now slated for construction in fiscal year 2024. It will cost $107 million in both right-of-way and construction funds.
The Southeast Bypass, from Ga. 101 to U.S. 411, is 4.6 miles long.
“The project team is currently acquiring right of way for this project,” Shelby said. Construction funding for the $117 million project is now proposed for 2026.
Shelby said that work on improvements to North Second Avenue from the Oostanaula River to Turner McCall Boulevard, eliminating the “Y” at the intersection, is scheduled for FY 2023 and is estimated to cost $22 million for the work which involves less than 0.7 of a mile. That project will include a 19-foot raised median.
Rome City Manager Sammy Rich said he was a little concerned that the Second Avenue project had been pushed a little further down the road than he had hoped for. He also expressed some concern that the timetable with bidding on the Turner McCall Bridge in 2022 and Second Avenue project in 2023 could result in some construction overlap which he characterized as a “possible disaster for the traveling public in Rome”
Finally, Shelby updated civic leaders on the Rome-Cartersville Development Corridor — formerly known simply as the 411 Connector to I-75. The total length of the project is 5.7 miles. Right-of-way acquisition is scheduled for the winter of 2020 and construction funds are allocated for fiscal year 2027. Right-of-way funding includes $25 million in previously earmarked funding.
Shelby said the state is looking to make some early acquisitions related to a Development of Regional Impact on the east side of I-75 in Bartow County, which is planning a mega-industrial site along the route after it crosses the interstate. The total project is expected to cost a little more than $120 million.
Shelby said the intersection with U.S. 41 on the west side of Cartersville would be completely redesigned. Virtually every intersection along the proposed routes would feature multi-lane roundabouts. A new diamond interchange is proposed for the insertion with the interstate itself at Old Grassdale Road.
“We’re currently awaiting environmental approval,” Shelby said.”We’re aggressively moving to get to the right-of-way phase.”