Bartow County transportation planner says final report more than a year away

GDOT approves funding for railroad crossing feasibility study

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The Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) approved Monday a request from the Cartersville-Bartow Metropolitan Planning Organization (CBMPO) for funding to finance a study exploring the possibility of constructing a new railroad overpass in downtown Cartersville.

"The feasibility study's been approved at the state level," said Bartow County Transportation Planner Tom Sills. "We haven't gotten a contract from them yet, but once we get the contract we'll be putting out a request for proposals to get somebody to help us look at the best alternate location for a railroad crossing in Cartersville."

Sills said the CBMPO was awarded $48,000 in Metro Planning (PL) funding from GDOT for the study. The total project, he said, is budgeted at $60,000, with a local match of $12,000.

The Cartersville City Council unanimously approved a resolution to apply for the funding in March.

"Trains have been coming to a complete stop blocking all downtown at-grade crossings for extended periods of time, creating considerable traffic congestion," a draft document for the funding request reads. "The City of Cartersville staff have suggested the need for a study to determine [the] feasibility and best location for a bridge/overpass that would relieve this congestion."

At the March 15 council meeting, Cartersville Mayor Matt Santini said the likeliest locations for a possible railroad overpass would be at the CSX intersection points at Leake Street, West Avenue, Cherokee Avenue and Main Street.

However, Sills said it will be quite some time before a final report will be available.

"I'm hoping sometime next October," he said. "It'll be about a year, a year and a half."

Sills touched upon several other local transportation issues at Wednesday morning's CBMPO Technical Coordination Committee meeting. 

He said the CBMPO is eyeing a Federal Lands Access Program (FLAP) grant for improvements around Bartow Beach. "We're going to make an application to repave the roads at Gatewood Park," he said. "That application is due in October."

He said he anticipates Phase I construction on the Cass-White Road improvement project to begin in about six weeks. The CBMPO is also mulling a public information open house concerning possible Phase II construction plans, tentatively scheduled for late October or early November.

Sills gave a quick update on the State Route 20 interchange lighting project. 

"We started off with a [request for proposal] and ran into some problems with that," he said. "So we've got Georgia Power getting us cost estimates for doing the LED lighting at the interchange there."

And things are moving forward on the Rome-Cartersville Development Corridor, Sills said — although there's still plenty of debate concerning where the proposed $100 million-plus project will eventually end.

"They'd like to have it terminate at Great Valley Parkway, but Beauflor is not really happy about the idea," he said. "There's some discussion going on now about terminating the Rome-Cartersville Development Corridor at I-75. Old Grassdale Road would still be there as a connector between I-75 and Cass-White Road, it just wouldn't be part of the development corridor — but they haven't made that final determination yet."