Plans to make Georgia Highway 20 four lanes from Interstate 75 to U.S. Highway 411 are gearing up, as crews are about to start digging up utility lines and right of ways are being cleared.
According to Georgia Department of Transportation Communications Officer Mohammed Arafa, the widening will run a distance of 2.15 miles and include a partial relocation of Highway 20. The relocation, according to traffic diagrams and public outreach materials available from GDOT, will tie Highway 20 into 411 at the Peeples Valley Road intersection. Highway 20 will cut through the wooded area west of Georgia Highlands College, according to diagrams, bisect the existing Old Tennessee Highway and end in a stoplight intersection with Peeples Valley Road. Old Tennessee Highway will be capped with a cul-de-sac, as will the remaining end of Highway 20 left near the 411 and U.S. Highway 41 intersection. A small stetch of road will be added to connect Marketplace Boulevard with the relocated Highway 20.
A separate project is slated to turn the 41 and 411 intersection into a mix of cloverleaf and diamond on and off ramps.
With Highway 20 being widened to four lanes, local utility companies will begin the six- to nine-month process of shifting their lines. John Sweitzer, president of Sweitzer Engineering, which is working with Bartow County Water Department on the project, described the process as a “touch-and-go” project.
“The existing water and sewer lines, both for the county and city of Cartersville, are in conflict with the proposed highway construction,” Sweitzer said. “In other words, when they are going to widen the road, our utilities, which run generally parallel to the road, have to be moved back away from the road to the back of the right of way. From the interstate, 75, all the way up to the interchange ... at Highway 411, we are generally speaking we are having to move a six-inch, eight-inch and 12-inch water line and replace them. We’re not moving them, we’re leaving them where they are. But we are replacing them with a 12-inch ductile iron pipe for the entire length of the project.”
In addition to water and sewer lines, gas lines, telephone lines, power lines and cable lines will need to be moved as well.
“We have to get out of the way of the highway department, and the county pays for that. The DOT does not pay for this relocation, except to the extent that we had sewer or sewer lines on easements and not the right of way. Those that were on easements the DOT will reimburse, but that’s a fairly insignificant portion of the overall project,” Sweitzer said.
For BCWD, moving the sewer and water lines will cost approximately $1,799,624, Sweitzer explained. The funds will cover about 7,500 feet of 12-inch pipe for water and 1,000 feet of smaller pipe. Approximately 5,000 feet of sewer line is included in the project as well.
Cartersville will pay approximately $243,363 to relocate a 12-inch water line on 411 near the planned intersection with Highway 20 at Peeples Valley Road.
Utility relocation, Sweitzer added, will likely happen within the next week.
“Our contractors, for the most part, are starting in about a week; weather permitting, they’ll get out and start work. Their work is to some extent dependent on the highway contractor’s schedule, because they go up to a certain point and they may have to skip and wait for the highway department contractor to put in a culvert, or something like that and then come back,” he said.
In an emailed statement, Arafa said GDOT contracted C.W. Matthews Contracting Co. Inc., of Marietta, in September for the Highway 20 project. Construction is expected to be complete by the end of May 2016, at a cost of $15,733,304.