Construction is anticipated to begin next summer and be completed in the summer of 2016.
Bob Hovey of west Cobb, who serves on the county’s planning commission, dropped by a public meeting about the project held at the Cobb Chamber of Commerce on Thursday.
“This is the other end of the Windy Mac project,” Hovey said, noting it is an extension of the Windy Hill Road/Macland Road Connector, recently built to provide west Cobb motorists a more direct route to Interstate 75 by connecting Macland Road at Powder Springs Road to Windy Hill Road at Austell Road.
Hovey said the sooner the project is built the better.
Commissioner Bob Ott said when the Windy Hill/Macland Road Connector opened, as many as 14,000 cars a day were added on Windy Hill Road.
“So we knew that was going to have an impact on Windy Hill, kind of a ripple-down effect, so we’ve identified various choke points, and this is one of the big ones because it’s at the interchange of 75,” he said. “We worked real hard to work on traffic flow from 41 to 75 and then from 75 to Wildwood, because that’s kind of the traffic pattern in the morning and the afternoon.”
Ott said he instructed staff to be careful about restricting traffic flow around businesses.
“It’s real easy to draw plans that put in medians and expedite the flow of traffic, but staff will tell you that probably one of the biggest things that I was a stickler about was the businesses,” he said. “Any time you put in a median, you’re now restricting access to those businesses.”
Installing breaks in the median where necessary as well as targeting traffic light timing and turn lanes and how many cars stack in a lane were therefore examined in detail, he said.
The Windy Hill Road section from the bridge over I-75 to Cobb Parkway, a distance of 0.87 miles, is projected to cost $14.8 million for right-of-way, construction, and utilities, paid for with 2011 SPLOST dollars, said Jane Stricklin, the county’s development services manager. The project will add an additional lane in each direction for a total of six lanes and remove the existing center turn lane and turn it into a median.
The Cumberland Community Improvement District is paying Moreland Altobelli $366,000 for the engineering/design work, she said.
The section from I-75 to Powers Ferry — “Windy Hill East” — is the same proposal, with six lanes, a median and some turn lane improvements. The cost of that 0.63-mile section for right-of-way, construction and utilities is estimated at $9.8 million, also to be paid for out of the 2011 SPLOST.
The CID is paying Arcadis and Moreland Altobelli $402,000 for the design work. In addition, the State Road and Tollway Authority awarded the CID a $1 million grant for improvements to the section on Windy Hill between Spectrum Circle and Powers Ferry, Stricklin said.
The project does not expand the Windy Hill bridge, which will simply be restriped.
Ott believes the project will benefit the community.
“It’s being done in District 2, but it benefits a sizable portion of the county because the folks that are coming across the Windy Hill Extension are coming from West Cobb and even Paulding County,” Ott said