Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) officials anticipate a major Interstate-75 resurfacing project will get underway in Bartow next month — and with it, daily lane closures for at least two months.
GDOT announced that Marietta-based C.W. Matthews Contracting Co. Inc. was awarded a $10.3 million contract earlier this week to resurface about 14 miles of I-75, stretching from exit 278 at Glade Road up to exit 293 for U.S. 411.
"The project was let and we're actually having a pre-construction meeting on the 21st," said GDOT area manager Keith Day. "We've got resurfacing on the north side in Calhoun that the same contractors are doing ... I would imagine, just to guess, they'd start moving in July."
Bartow County Transportation Planner Tom Sills said he anticipates resurfacing beginning by the second week of July.
"They're talking about starting at both Glade Road and at State Route 61 and working their way towards the middle," he said. "It will be a much improved surface when it's all said and done. We just advise patience, because there's a lot of summer traffic that's going to be impacted by that."
During weekdays, Sills said work hours are tentatively set for 7 p.m. until 6 a.m.
"And on weekends, they will begin working at 7 p.m. on Friday night and be working continuously through 6 a.m. Monday morning," he added.
Although the contract gives C.W. Matthews until April 2019 to complete the project, Day said he doesn't think the resurfacing will take more than two months.
"They will complete it around 60 days," he said. "It's not going to take that long. They can't resurface when it's cold, so they'll do it this summer into the fall."
GDOT District 6 Engineer DeWayne Comer, however, said the project could take longer.
"[C.W. Matthews] is supposed to start paving in the middle of July and they've got 60 days to complete the paving, but that doesn't mean they'll be through," he said. "They've got until next April to finish because there's still a lot of striping up they'll have to do."
During the project, both I-75's northbound and southbound lanes will be resurfaced with a new type of open graded friction course (OGFC) asphalt. According to GDOT, the project was expedited by the State Maintenance Office due to the roadway's "serious raveling condition."
Day further described what the resurfacing project, which is being paid for via state dollars, will entail.
"This project, they're actually milling off and replacing one inch of the asphalt — the really rough-riding surface that sheds water. That's what we're taking off and that's what we're putting back," he said. "It's for safety, to eliminate the cracked windshields, the raveling and potholes in that section."
The condition of the highway, Comer said, was made even worse by the heavy snowfall and icing that has pounded I-75 over the last few years.
"As far as safety, you're going to have new striping along the roadway once the road is completed and resurfacing is done," he said. "It's just going to be new. Everything, you'll be able to see better."
With construction beginning shortly, however, Comer asked local commuters to prepare themselves for some slower rides later this summer.
"There's going to be a lot of delays," he said, "and staging and working at night."