This portion of a larger project was begun in November 2008 at a construction cost of $24,315,520 scheduled for completion at the end of this month. The slight improvement over the expected timetable was greatly appreciated by GDOT officials.
"We are very, very glad to complete this not just on time but a little bit ahead of time," said Mohammed Arafa, GDOT communications specialist. "This is the first [phase] and part of the second phase and it is one of the most important projects for Bartow County."
A three-phase project is planned for the relocation of State Route 113 connecting Rockmart/Cartersville Highway directly to I-75, alleviating traffic in Cartersville.
"The whole project is not just widening Old Alabama Road but relocating State Route 113 so that it wouldn't go through Cartersville, it would go around Cartersville and Emerson and connect to I-75. So it's the relocation of State Route 113, of course widening Old Alabama Road some portions and other portions constructing it -- like that to Red Top Mountain, that's new construction," Arafa said.
The newly constructed portion of Old Alabama travels west from I-75 at the Red Top Mountain Road exit joining with a reconstructed and widened portion of Old Alabama Road to the intersection with Paga Mine Road. New construction includes two bridges, one crossing over U.S. 41 while the other spans the distance over CSX railroad and Service Route 293 for a total of 2.216 miles.
In a Wednesday press release, Kent Sager, GDOT district engineer at the Cartersville office, commented on the timely completion for this phase of the project to ease holiday congestion.
"We are glad to complete this construction project slightly ahead of schedule and give the new portion of SR 113 to the traveling public just in time for the holidays," Sager stated. "Although some work remains to be done, construction is complete as far as the traveling public is concerned."
Traffic signals on Red Top Mountain Road and Old Alabama Road will begin flashing Monday in addition to message boards as a warning and reminder to motorists before lights become operational Thursday, Dec. 9.
The relocation, reconstruction and widening of SR 113 between Cartersville and Rockmart has been ongoing for some time, the linking of this roadway with Old Alabama and Red Top Mountain Road will complete commute improvements for the Taylorsville area and Polk County residents.
"This will definitely improve the traffic in the area, provide new access to I-75 for the area residents and make traffic not just flow better in the area but also will make it safer because it's not going through town and in the end it will help residents of Bartow County get where they need to go. It will improve the mobility of the residents of Bartow County; of course, also it will help people from Polk County," Arafa said.
New construction and widening of Old Alabama also contains a 12-foot shoulder, including 6.5 feet of paved shoulder for bicycle accommodations.
"When you have a road where, like this one, some portion is urban and other portions are rural, we like to, when possible, make it pedestrian-friendly. Meaning that you can have bicycles or environmentally friendly bicycle lanes. We encourage that because we want less cars on the road, of course more people in the car, because the traffic can move from carpooling and that sort of things and we encourage other modes of transportation like biking," Arafa said.