Officials expect four-phased infrastructure upgrades to wrap up between 2030-2040
With the opening of a new alignment over the weekend, the first phase of a $26 million Cass-White Road improvement project is on the cusp of completion.
“A few years ago, we undertook the improvement of Cass-White on the east end where it connects to U.S. 411,” said Cartersville-Bartow Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) Transportation Planner Tom Sills. “Its primary goal is eliminating an at-grade railroad crossing, which would make it safer for the school traffic that has to attend Cass High and White Elementary.”
That project, Sills said, took a little over two years to construct. The total price tag came out to about $8.6 million, of which $6.24 million was funded via SPLOST dollars and the remaining $2.36 million culled from a grant under the State Road and Tollway Authority’s Georgia Transportation Infrastructure Bank program.
“Now we’ve got an alignment that provides a little more access to 411 and will in the future, provide much more access,” Sills said. “And it will generally just assist in what we expect to see in the way of freight traffic along Cass-White Road as it tries to reach the inland port located in Murray County, also on U.S. 411.”
At this point, however, Sills said it is difficult to predict what the overall impact on safety and traffic flow will be on the corridor.
“Basically, we’re just setting up a different route for the traffic for it to get to where it needs to go,” he said. “What we’re anticipating is future traffic — as anybody who’s been up and down Cass-White Road in the recent past has seen, there is a lot of building going on for future industrial projects.”
The ultimate goal, Sills said, is to completely four-lane Cass-White Road from its intersections with Interstate 75 and Highway 411.
“Phase II is actually in engineering now and that would result in the widening of Cass-White from I-75 over to Great Valley Parkway and Highland 75 industrial park,” he said.
Currently tabbed at about $3.9 million, he said he anticipates that phase starting construction in 2025.
Sills said phase III — estimated at $6.7 million — would entail improvements on the opposite side of I-75, near the Loloi and Chick-fil-A Supply, LLC facilities.
“We have two other projects that may actually get folded into one where we would connect the improvement made on Great Valley to the improvements there at the roundabout there we did at Colonel Way,” he said. “The other project was all the way from Great Valley out to 411, with a four-lane.”
In total, Sills said the County projects the entire infrastructure improvement project costing about $26 million. He said he anticipates the complete Cass-White Road upgrades wrapping up sometime between 2030-2040.
Sills said the local government certainly wants to see Cass-White Road tie into the proposed Rome-Cartersville Development Corridor (RCDC), a massive project that would create a new route connecting U.S. 411 to I-75.
The Georgia Department of Transportation currently estimates construction costs on the RCDC project at $105.6 million.
“It takes a lot of the freight traffic out of downtown Cartersville, which I think everybody would appreciate,” Sills said. “It would also take out a lot of the thru-traffic at Main Street … so there may be other opportunities for what Main Street could become for the community.”
Ultimately, he said the intent of the infrastructure improvement plan along Cass-White Road is to ensure the corridor is well-prepared for heavier truck volumes in the years ahead.
“We’re just trying to figure out a way to get the freight traffic that we know is coming to the area,” he said, “with a minimal amount of disruption to our everyday lives as possible.”