Public information open house on $1.1B slate of road plans set for Aug. 20

MPO prioritizes Long-Range Transportation Plan projects

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Members of the Cartersville-Bartow Metropolitan Planning Organization’s Technical Coordinating Committee had their work cut out for them at Wednesday morning’s meeting — over the course of just half an hour, they had to prioritize a three-decades-long list of road projects, comprising more than $1.1 billion worth of infrastructure improvements.

Naturally, the task proved a bit too tall, with the committee resolving to further refine the 2020-2050 Long-Range Transportation Plan (LRTP) project list at a special-called work session on Sept. 4. They’ll get a little bit of help from residents on the assignment, considering a public information open house on the master road project list is scheduled to take place at the Clarence Brown Conference Center at 5450 Highway 20 in Cartersville from 4-6 p.m. on Aug. 20.

The LRTP list, as is, currently includes more than 50 projects, running the gamut from a roughly $182,000 plan to repave portions of McKaskey Creek Road to the massive Rome-Cartersville Development Corridor, which is tabbed at the moment at more than $113 million. In between there are also projects on the docket looking to widen State Route 20 from Interstate 75 to Cherokee County ($89.7 million), widen I-75 from six to eight lanes from Glade Road to Cobb County’s State Route 5 connector ($84 million) and an estimated $102 million project seeking to widen I-75 from State Route 140 in Adairsville to State Route 156 in Gordon County — among many, many other proposals.

“There’s obviously a lot of north-south travel issues on the interstate,” said Bartow County Transportation Planner Tom Sills. “We need to get a good understanding of what those projects are … because over the next 60 days, we’re going to need to work pretty diligently to figure out which ones are the needed projects to address these issues and others we’re having in the community, and winnow that down so that — at least as far as the federal funds are concerned — we’ve got a balanced budget.”

According to the MPO’s revenue projections, Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) dollars are expected to fund $228,840,280 worth of County-related projects over the next 30 years, with local transportation project funding tabbed at $225,266,020. Over that same time frame, the MPO projects GDOT funding almost $88 million worth of County infrastructure maintenance, with local maintenance funding projected at $223,755,474 from 2020-2050.

“There’s going to be a lot of input about projects,” Sills said. “Our job over the next 60 days is to winnow that down so that we’ve got no more federal funds allocated than what we have coming to us, but also meet the needs of getting that Level of Service [rating] and other community needs met and addressed.”

Especially important to refining the LRTP, Sills said, is developing a strategy for using federal funds.

“For example, the County is funding the initial preliminary engineering on Cass-White Phase II, with the hopes of getting federal funding for the right of way and construction phases,” he said. “That’s one way to shift federal funds over into other projects or expand the use of federal funds throughout the list.”

Sills also gave updates on a slate of transportation projects  — both proposed and in progress — throughout Bartow.

“The Euharlee bridge project, they’re advertising currently for a consultant design contract,” he said. “They expect to start preliminary engineering next summer.”

According to MPO documents, that 0.4-mile infrastructure replacement project is tabbed at $5.37 million.

A public information open house, Sills said, is in the works to discuss several roundabouts that may be constructed along the Cass-White Road corridor. He also said plans are underway to construct two new bridges on Highway 41 over Highway 293 in Emerson.

“Those are moving forward to concept development,” he said. “And we’ve got a project in place to do some widening of the ramps at Red Top Mountain Road.”

Also being discussed are plans to replace the I-75 bridge over Cedar Creek Road, which may include the addition of a new interchange as part of the project.

And the proposed Old Alabama Road relocation project, Sills said, continues to “be a saga.” The MPO’s latest cost estimates have the three-phased project topping out at almost $99 million.

“We think we’ve got some cost estimates into the Office of Planning,” he concluded Wednesday morning’s meeting. “I think they’ve been approved, so now we’re waiting on the scheduling.”