Cobb County SPLOST Projects Update

Cobb County GovernmentSPLOST is short for Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax. Every five years, Cobb County resident have been voting to increase the county’s sales tax by one percent or 1¢.  Cobb already has one of the lower sales taxes in the metro area.  The normal tax is 5 percent + 1 percent for the SPLOST totalling the current 6 percent.  When the SPLOST expires the new SPLOST (if approved by voters) replaces the expiring one percent keeping the tax the same.

One of the reasons the SPLOST is popular is that residents from other counties who make purchase in Cobb contribute to the fund.  So, the county is financing it’s needs with non-residents money.  Of course, the majority comes from Cobb County residents but it doesn’t hurt to have others help.

The last SPLOST vote was in September 2008 and will run until 2013.  This was the third consecutive SPLOST to be approved by voters.  The total tax collected over the five year period is expected to be $825-$850 million.  The Cobb County school system, with 106,000 students, is expected to get $798 million. Some of the projects financed with these funds include:

  • $226 million: For maintenance and renovation, including $4.4 million for playground equipment and resurfacing, $1.6 million for stadium lighting and sound,
    and $879,000 on special clocks.
  • $213 million: For additions to 56 schools and four other buildings.
  • Just over half of the Marietta system’s share of $59 million would pay off debt, and $10 million would be used to fund additions and renovations for the 8,000 students in the district.

UPDATE ON PROJECTS

TRANSPORTATION

As of February 2009, 239 transportation projects are underway or completed.
Highlights include:

  • 20 school zone improvement projects valued at
  • $5 million
  • 28 bridge rehabilitation and replacement projects valued at $14 million
  • 31 intersection safety and operational improvements valued at $19.5 million
  • 22 thoroughfare and roadway safety improvement projects valued at $68.4 million
  • 220 miles of road resurfacing valued at $35.9 million
  • View Map of Current Construction Locations

Currently DOT has approximately 30 major projects in design and 60 projects planned to bid during 2009. Here is a closer look at three major projects in various stages of construction on Cobb County’s roads right now: Due West Road Area Improvements, Jiles Road and Windy Hill Road/Macland Road Connector.

Due West Road Area Improvements

This project makes corridor improvements on Due West Road/Acworth Due West Road from south of Old Hamilton Road to just north of Burnt Hickory Road to the west. Construction is currently underway with anticipated completion by the end of fall. Significant improvements made throughout this corridor include:

  • Addition of turn lanes throughout the project limits and widening of the existing roadway; most notably including dual left turns from Due West Road northbound to
    Due West Road westbound;
  • Addition of “bike friendly” lanes between Burnt Hickory Road to the south and north;
  • The new Old Hamilton Road and the new Burnt Hickory Road intersection will be a four-way signalized intersection at Due West Road and will continue across on new alignment to form a new connection with Burnt Hickory Road;
  • The existing signal at the intersection of Burnt Hickory Road and Due West Road will have its signal removed and Burnt Hickory Road will no longer be accessible at this location with the intersection relocated to Old Hamilton Road.

Jiles Road Widening – Phase I and II

Jiles Road Phase I will widen the existing Jiles Road to a four-lane divided section between Baker Road and Cherokee Street. This will facilitate traffic on Jiles Road to and from Interstate 75 as well as relieve congestion near the intersection of Jiles Road and Cherokee Street.

Phase I construction will begin shortly and will maintain access to all businesses throughout construction. Construction is anticipated to continue through the spring. Phase II is well into design and will extend improvements through Legacy Park towards Old US 41 and US 41. Construction for Phase II is anticipated to begin in early 2010.

Continued Progress on Windy Hill Road/Macland Road Connector

The Windy Hill Road/Macland Road Connector is currently under construction and will provide a new four-lane roadway from the intersection of Macland Road and Powder Springs Road to the existing intersection at Windy Hill Road and Austell Road. This roadway will significantly reduce travel times as well as congestion on Powder Springs Road and neighboring Callaway Road, County Services Parkway, Austell Road and Milford Church Road.

After the groundbreaking ceremony on Oct. 30, dirt has been moving on this project. Phase I of this project includes the construction of a bridge where the new Connector will pass under the existing Callaway Road near Jim R. Miller Park and construction of a new bridge and future roadway over Olley Creek. To build the Callaway bridge without closing Callaway Road, it was necessary to relocate the existing roadway in front of the park. Phase I construction impacting the park and Callaway Bridge will be completed near the end of this summer, just before the next North Georgia State Fair.

Planning Updates

January Bike Ped Workshops Generate Citizen Input
Cobb County Department of Transportation recently hosted three public workshops to provide information on the current conditions for walking and biking throughout the county’s roadways. These workshops were very well attended by Cobb residents and generated several hundred responses to DOT staff. This input will help the Board of Commissioners set priorities for public investment in pedestrian and bicycle facilities.

If you were unable to attend the January Workshops, there is still time to provide your comments. Please view the PowerPoint presentation on the DOT Web site and fill out the accompanying questionnaire. Due to the overwhelming response, the deadline to receive comments has been extended to the end of February. For more information about the workshop, please view the DOT Video on Demand.

Cobb County Begins Austell Road Access Management Study
The Cobb County Department of Transportation is spearheading an effort to examine access management along Austell Road and has selected a consultant team to conduct the Austell Road Access Management Study. The first opportunity for the public to learn more about the project will be at a community meeting held on Tuesday, Feb.17 from 6 to 8 p.m. at the South Cobb Government Center, 4700 Austell Road in Austell, Georgia.

Access Management methods are designed to improve operational efficiency of roadways without adding lane capacity. The Austell Road Access Management Study will provide an opportunity to distinguish between different levels of access control on the arterial network, while at the same time maintaining the predominant role of Austell Road to move through traffic safely and efficiently. In addition to improvements benefiting vehicular traffic, the study also has potential benefits for pedestrians, bicyclists and transit users. Consideration of alternative travel modes and integration of solutions to address their needs are vital to the success of the Austell Road Access Management Study.
For more information, please contact the Planning Division, planning@cobbcounty.org , 770-528-1679 or on the DOT Web site.

Projects Under Construction

Austell Road at East-West Connector

Construction will begin shortly on the Austell Road at East-West Connector intersection and will continue throughout 2009. Improvements to this intersection will include addition of thru lanes on the East-West Connector and dual turn lanes to all legs of the intersection.

Maxham Road

Maxham Road construction will continue until the end of summer 2009. This project will ultimately be two lanes in each direction with a raised median between Old Alabama Road and Veterans Memorial Highway. The existing bridge over Buttermilk Creek will be widened without closing the roadway and sidewalk will be added to the west side to the roadway. Work is currently beginning on the bridge widening.

Garrett Road Bridge over Powder Springs Creek

This project replaced the old bridge over Powder Springs Creek and has been designed to improve the safety of the curve on the bridge. Garrett Road Bridge recently opened to through traffic after being closed since last summer.

Holly Springs Bridge

Construction has just begun on this project which will replace the existing bridge over Sewell Creek Tributary with a “bottomless” culvert. This replacement will require a roadway detour that will go into effect from March until July, reopening before school begins in August.

Post Oak Tritt Road

Construction continues on this roadway safety operational project which will widen the existing roadway, adding curb, gutter and sidewalk on one side of the roadway from Murdock Road to the Fulton County line. This project includes replacement of two existing bridges with a culvert and a bridge. The bridge replacement near Post Oak Square Subdivision will require a summer road closure with the roadway expected to be open to traffic before school opens in fall.
Projects on the Horizon

Allgood Road

Allgood Road is currently being designed for improvement between Scufflegrit Road and East Piedmont Road. Proposed improvements will include addition of sidewalk where it is currently missing on the north side of the roadway and on the south side from Scufflegrit Road to Mount Paran Church. Where new curb and gutter is necessary, the roadway will be widened. Groover Road will be revised to tie into Allgood Road at a 90 degree angle and two hillcuts, near Rockcrest Drive and Smithwood Drive, will improve safety and visibility. Construction is anticipated to begin this summer and will require some roadway closures.

Noonday Creek Trail

This project will construct a 10′ trail from the Kennesaw Mountain National Battleground Park visitor’s center to Bells Ferry Road where it crosses Noonday Creek.  Click here to view a map . This multi-phased project is funded through a variety of sources (including SPLOST, federal, local, and Town Center CID funds). Expect to see construction this March beginning at Cobb Parkway and running along Vaughn Road and Barrett Lakes Blvd with other phases of the project continuing construction through mid-2010. Future plans to extend the trail to the Cherokee County line will add another proposed four miles to the nearly six mile trail project.

JUDICIAL

Jail Expansion

On July 31, 2007, county officials broke ground for the $110 million expansion of the Cobb County Adult Detention Center. The project continues on time and within budget. The housing tower’s skeletal structure is complete and interior walls, elevators, cells and utilities are being installed. The building exterior panels are also being installed. Construction of the Visitor Building has been completed. Visitation and bonding functions will be shifted to the Visitor Building at the end of the year. The Administration Building is scheduled for completion in April and the housing tower at the end of the year. Renovation and expansion of the laundry area has been completed and renovation and expansion of the kitchen area is underway. When finished, the jail expansion will add more than 320,000 square feet and 1,152 beds to the facility, bringing its capacity to 3,077 prisoners.

PUBLIC SAFETY

New Courthouse

SPLOST funds of $55 million will enable the building of a new courthouse that will combine all of the county’s court services on one campus and allow Juvenile Court to move to downtown Marietta. The new building will also provide a larger jury assembly room to house jurors.

Cobb County has entered into a design build contract with Turner Construction and the company has verified programming completed last summer by the Facility Group. The Board of Commissioners expanded the size of the new courthouse to include an additional floor for future growth and building elevations have been updated to show the added floor. Design development drawings have been finalized and approved by various large courthouse departments, including the district attorney, sheriff, superior court judges and the clerk’s office. Construction design drawings are being developed for construction purposes and the county has acquired necessary permits to fill the open creek on the courthouse site.