GDOT representative gives update on county transportation projects

RCDC right of way could be funded next year

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A Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) representative said right of way for the Rome-Cartersville Development Corridor (RCDC) could be obtained two years ahead of schedule. 

“The funding for right of way is showing 2022, but the plan right now is to work to have right of way plans available and ready in 2020,” said GDOT District 6 Preconstruction Engineer David Acree at Monday morning’s Cartersville-Bartow County Chamber of Commerce meeting. “And hopefully, find funds to acquire the right of way then.”

The proposed project to realign U.S. 411 to Interstate 75 would begin near the current 411/State Route 20 intersection and terminate along a new I-75 interchange on Cass-White Road. 

According to GDOT documents, total right of way costs for the project are tabbed at about $24.5 million, with preliminary engineering costs estimated at $2 million.

The actual construction costs of completing the project, GDOT anticipates, is $89.4 million.

Last July, GDOT District 6 Engineer Grant Waldrop said the department was targeting Aug. 2022 as the let date — when contract bids would be advertised — for the RCDC project.

However, Acree said funding for the project appears to have been pushed back several more years.

“The funds for the construction of the Rome-Cartersville Development Corridor is 2027,” he said. “But the planned development is ongoing, which is definitely a positive thing.” 

Acree also touched upon the status of 13 active transportation construction projects ongoing in Bartow, with a combined price tag north of $113 million.

The roughly $9.6 million State Route 113 widening project, he said, is about 80-90 percent complete. 

“This picks up right there near Old Alabama Road, right in that area, and continues that section of four-lane all the way up to 61,” he said. Construction, Acree continued, began in Jan. 2017 and is on pace to wrap up this November.

Then there’s the U.S. 41/U.S. 411 cloverleaf interchange reconstruction project, which GDOT tabbed at about $60 million when construction began back in Aug. 2014.

At this point, Acree said the project is about “60-70 percent complete,” with April 2020 being targeted as its completion date. 

“This spring, expect to see some changes in this area, as the bridgework and the staging will change pretty soon,” he said. “It will shift traffic’s that’s traveling northbound on 41 to the new bridges that are being built over State Route 61 and over the railroad.” 

Acree said that should help alleviate congestion along Joe Frank Harris Parkway and State Route 61.

“This general area has been under construction for a while,” he said, “with the work on the median crossovers, with the work on the 20 widening project.” 

He also touched upon the State Route 140 widening project in Adairsville, which would extend into Floyd County all the way to State Route 53.

Per GDOT numbers from 2016, the project has a total estimated price tag of almost $85 million.

“This is widening the section of 140 to four lanes with a raised median through this area — the project’s a little over 50 percent, I guess around 50-60 percent, in Bartow County, so this project is approximately 60 percent complete,” Acree said. 

Construction on the project is currently on pace to wrap up around June 2021.

At this juncture, Acree said there’s about 30 different transportation projects throughout the county in the “concept” phase.

He touched upon a roughly $3 million proposal to construct a new location ramp access in Emerson, near the intersection of State Route 3 and the Red Top Mountain Road Connector.

“If you’re on Red Top Mountain Road and you’re coming down 41 trying to make that left turn onto U.S. 41, [we’re trying] to make it to where you can go across a bridge, utilize the bridge over U.S. 41 and make a right instead of making that left,” he said. “Of course, there’s been several accidents at that location, so this will be a big help in that area.”

Acree also said GDOT has major plans for a Cass-White Road interchange reconstruction project. 

“We are looking at doing roundabouts at the termini at the ramp,” he said. “That will alleviate traffic there. It kind of ties into the Bartow County project that widens Cass-White Road to the west and over to Great Valley Parkway.”

As for the long-delayed final stretch of the Old Alabama Road project, Acree said GDOT currently has it awaiting another five years for funding, with construction costs estimated at about $76.2 million.

“Right of way has been acquired through this corridor, so the right of way’s there and the state owns the property to build the project,” he said. “What’s going on right now is we’re looking at potentially splitting up the project and looking at the costs of having three projects and being able to fund them either in ’24, or maybe even sooner, if that’s available.”