Cartersville-Bartow County Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) transportation planner Tom Sills said there could be some big changes coming to the organization’s next unified planning work program (UPWP.)
“In the past, we have set aside about $60,000, of which $12,000 of that was matched, to do special studies,” Sills said at an MPO technical coordinating committee (TCC) meeting Wednesday morning. “It was open to any local government to be able to apply for use of those funds and, frankly, we haven’t had a whole lot of calls for that.”
Sills then proposed drastically decreasing the special studies budget for the next UPWP — ultimately, chopping funding down to just $2,000.
“The $2,000 in that category is considered, basically, a placeholder,” he said. “We’ll still have funds coming out of the MPO to put into these studies, but anything of any substance would be applied through the State Metro Planning (PL) Funds Committee.”
He said the MPO intends on maintaining a list of projects that could receive special studies funding, but would spread the remaining $58,000 elsewhere in the UPWP budget — i.e., categories like program administration, contract maintenance and system monitoring.
“We will be able to capture more of the funds we have allocated to us each year and actually seeing less back to the (PL) Funds Committee,” he said. “My recommendation is that we take the money that we had allocated to special studies and reallocate it to the other areas of the contract where, historically, we’ve had problems at the end of the year having enough funding.”
Among other potential projects identified for PL funding includes studies examining the Mission Road and Tennessee Street corridors.
“We may or may not want to do more with walkability assessments for downtown Cartersville,” Sills added. “There’s a freight corridor study that was added at the suggestion of some folks, because of some issues taking place on Cass-White Road from Brown Loop eastward to U.S. 411.”
Sills said officials in the City of Adairsville have also shown an interest in a feasibility study looking at the prospects of a new I-75 interchange.
“The County has an interest in looking at an interchange somewhere between Cass-White and 140, so what I’ve done is basically said ‘North Bartow Interchange feasibility study,’” Sills said, “and pursue getting some funds to have somebody come in and guide us on the best location for all concerned.”
Sills said the proposed budgetary reallocations will likely be on the agenda for the TCC’s next meeting, scheduled for June 17.
Sills also noted that the deadline for federal Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP) funding applications is July 31. He said that both the City of Cartersville and Bartow County governments are seeking TAP grants to acquire right of way for sidewalk projects along Grassdale Road and the Allatoona Community in Acworth, respectively.
“We’ve also gotten some requests to look at sidewalk projects along Cassville Road, going north from Grassdale for about one-and-a-half miles,” Sills said, “and gotten another request from some folks down in the Allatoona Community that want to take sidewalk from the Bartow County line there at Main Street and do a sidewalk up to Tanyard Creek.”
Sills wrapped up the meeting with a quick update on several countywide infrastructure and transportation projects.
He said work on safety improvements from Wild Flower Trail to Camp Drive in south Bartow should be resuming shortly.
“We are under the understanding that Bartow Paving will be back out on Glade Road to finish up the project this week,” he said. “They’ve been away from that project since October.”
According to Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) documents, construction costs on the project are tabbed at roughly $2.1 million.
Elsewhere in Bartow, Sills said the first phase of Cass-White Road improvements continue to move forward. “The railroad bridge is coming together,” he said. “So if anybody’s out in that direction, you’ll be able to see a superstructure in place.”