After more than three years of construction, a road widening project in Adairsville is officially finished.
"This project had widened a portion of State Route 140 between Oothkalooga Creek and the intersection of SR 140 with US 41/SR 3 in Bartow County," said Georgia Department of Transportation spokesman Mohamed Arafa. "The highway was widened from two to four lanes, two in each direction, plus a raised [20-foot median] ... the improvements also included the construction of two bridges and their approaches over Oothkalooga Creek and CSX."
The project, covering approximately one mile of roadway extending west of Oothkalooga Creek to US 41, began June 2015 and was completed in late August.
Construction costs, Arafa said, totaled $11.94 million. Bartow County Commissioner Steve Taylor said no local money was included in the project.
"It's totally a state GDOT project," he said, "and it benefits the northern part of Bartow County tremendously."
Yet it wasn't always easy waiting for the GDOT project to wrap up, said Adairsville Mayor Kenneth Carson.
"Basically, what it did was create a bottleneck for traffic," he said. "It also impacted several businesses, a couple of vacant lots that possibly could've been developed ... that whole deal slowed things down, as far as economics go."
Still, Carson said the "growing pains" of the project was ultimately worth it.
"Sometimes we have got to endure and go through some things that don't seem that convenient, but it's usually for our own good," he said. "Not only will it be better roadways to increase the quality of life, it gets more traffic moving through here in a quicker manner. That whole intersection is designed to move traffic faster."
While GDOT "made every effort" to minimize the impact of the construction work on local traffic, Arafa said lane closures and detours during some phases were all but unavoidable.
"We understood the inconvenience this work caused the area residents and the traveling public," he said. "But now that the project is complete and all lanes are open to traffic, it will certainly improve the flow of traffic in the area, make it safer and help the public get where they need to go in Bartow and Floyd counties."
Work continues on a larger GDOT project to expand GA 140 from two lanes to four heading westward from where the Adairsville project recently wrapped up into Floyd County.
The benefits of that, Taylor said, won't just be applicable to Bartow and Floyd — he said he sees it as a boon for all of northwest Georgia.
"It's going to be great for citizens as far as travel, it's going to be good for economic development," he said. "It'll be a truck route, a freight route, and it's going to help move freight more safely and efficiently into northwest Georgia."
That nearly seven-mile project would span all the way to where GA 140 intersects with GA 53. According to GDOT numbers from 2015, the estimated construction cost is $68.4 million; they anticipate the project being completed in 2021.
"Safety is probably the single biggest benefit as for the citizens in Adairsville and Floyd County," Taylor said. "This whole road, when it's completed, will be much safer for our citizens than the previous, winding, narrow road."