Members of the Cartersville-Bartow County Metropolitan Planning Organization’s policy and technical coordinating committees voted to pursue additional federal funding to construct sidewalks along Grassdale Road in Cartersville and the Allatoona community in Acworth at a joint meeting Wednesday afternoon.
MPO transportation planner Tom Sills said preliminary engineering on both projects have been completed. Now the organization is looking to procure additional Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP) dollars to get work on the infrastructure underway.
Bartow County Administrator Peter Olson said it doesn’t appear that the County or any municipalities will have to acquire much in the way of additional property to facilitate that construction.
“I noticed in reviewing their documents that they put $50,000 in for right of way and I asked them ‘That doesn’t seem like a lot,’” Olson said of the engineering reports for the Grassdale Road project. “And they said ‘Well, we don’t need very much.’”
City of Cartersville Public Works Director Tommy Sanders said he just received comments back for the proposed work on Grassdale Road.
“I believe that the [preliminary engineering] funding includes right of way,” he said. “The right of way is basically just easements, we’re not actually going to buy any real property … we’re interested in going ahead and applying for the construction funds in this round, if ya’ll are.”
Sills noted that July 31 is the deadline to apply for TAP funding, which he said can be used for bike trails, sidewalks and efforts to make “complete streets” more pedestrian-friendly.
“By the time we get the money and it gets approved, that’ll be sometime next year, and hopefully we’ll be in the process then of getting easements,” Sanders added.
Olson said the County supports both proposed sidewalk projects. He suggested that officials from Emerson meet with the MPO to discuss similar projects in southern Bartow.
“It would be nice to have a sidewalk and streetlight program all the way down to LakePoint, kind of like what Acworth did,” Olson said.
The two MPO committees also voted to add two additional projects to its Transportation Improvement Program (TIP.)
Sills said the organization hopes to obtain Federal Lands Access Program (FLAP) grants to complete repaving projects along Chitwood Cemetery Road and McKaskey Creek Road.
“They were just now authorized this calendar year,” he said. “That’s why they weren’t added when we did the long-range transportation plan earlier, so now we’re in the process of making them eligible for federal funds.”
The repaving projects, Sills continued, would have an 80/20 match, with the County on the hook for the lesser proportion. He said he’s optimistic the projects can get underway shortly after Labor Day.
At this point, Sills said the MPO is tasked with updating its TIP for both 2021 and 2024, as well as a unified planning work program (UPWP) for the 2021 fiscal year.
“Basically, it boils down to starting next month, we’ll have a call for special projects to put in the planning work program, and in August, the policy committee will meet and recommend the draft go out for public review,” he said. “There will be a 30-day comment period … the technical coordinating committee comes back in October, recommends a final on both documents and the policy committee will meet in November and approve both the UPWP for FY '21 and the updated TIP.”
Sills concluded the meeting with a rapid-fire update on a litany of transportation projects throughout the county.
A concept report is still in the works for the project seeking to widen State Route 20 from Interstate 75 to Interstate 575. Meanwhile, Sills said Paulding County has more or less taken the lead on the Third Army Road interchange project
, which touches the southernmost tip of Bartow County.
Elsewhere, Sills said roadwork in Acworth is on pace to wrap up shortly.
“Glade Road, we’ve had some delays with contracting it and having to demobilize,” he said. “I understand he’ll be back on the job by the end of the month and we’ll have that completed on schedule.”
On the opposite end of the county, he said the first phase of Cass-White Road improvements has progressed to the point that a new railroad bridge is in construction.
“The beams, I think, are supposed to be laid in this week,” he said.
He also said that the County has inked a contract with Clark Patterson Lee to conduct preliminary engineering work on Cass-White Road Phase II plans.
The massive Rome-Cartersville Development Corridor project, he said, likewise continues to chug along.
“They have split a portion of that project,” Sills said. “It went from I-75 to Cass-White, to a separate project with a separate [project identification] number and we’ll kind of continue to follow that.”
Adairsville Community Development Director Richard Osborne asked about a potential feasibility study for an I-75 interchange near Adairsville Pleasant Valley Road.
“We can do concept studies and not necessarily have that listed in the TIP,” Sills said. “So we can add it to the UPWP and make it eligible for some additional study money.”