Traffic relief may soon be coming to some key Cherokee County intersections after the county board of commissioners approved funding for several transportation projects.
Coming in at a total cost of just over $2.1 million, the projects approved last week include improving three intersections along Highway 140 and replacing a bridge over Toonigh Creek.
The largest transportation investment approved was a $1.48 million construction agreement awarded to CMES, Inc. to replace the bridge on Transart Parkway over Toonigh Creek. CMES was the lowest bidder for the project. The Toonigh Creek bridge on Transart Parkway was deemed substandard and deficient, according to county documents. The new bridge is planned to have 12-foot wide travel lanes and 5-foot wide sidewalks. The current bridge will remain in place while the new bridge is constructed next to it, County Manager Geoff Morton said.
The board awarded an agreement to Vanasse Hangen Brustlin, Inc for the design of an improved intersection between Highway 140 and Univeter Road for $326,619. The Georgia Department of Transportation handed over the design phase of this project to Cherokee County, which consists primarily of the installation of two left turn lanes on both sides of Highway 140 and widening the intersection. At the same time, GDOT will reimburse the county for 80% percent of this phase’s cost, Morton said.
Commissioners approved a proposal from Atlas Technical Consultants for $50,200 for parcel appraisals related to a project improving the intersection of Highway 140 and Batesville Road/Hickory Road. The county estimates it will need to acquire 29 parcels for the right-of-way on the project, and Atlas already has a service agreement in place with the county to provide acquisition services.
The board also approved an amendment in the amount of $253,499 to the agreement with Summit Construction and Development for improvements to the intersection of Highway 140 and East Cherokee Drive. The commissioners initially approved an agreement for $473,351 on the project, but due to a change in the project, the amendment to pay the additional money was needed. The project includes adding both right and left turn lanes for all approaches to the intersection. However, the county engineering department recommended an alternate construction method for the intersection that would have less of an effect on traffic. The alternate method, which involves putting down multiple layers of asphalt until the road level was more desirable than working section by section, tearing up part of the road and repaving it.
“Although that option is a little more expensive, it’ll be much quicker and allow for a lot less construction staging and a lot less detours in that very congested intersection,” Morton said.
The three intersection improvements on Highway 140 were identified by county officials as ways to help alleviate some of the congestion on that roadway until a more long-term solution is achieved. GDOT has said their future plans include widening Highway 140, but current timetables estimate this work will not take place until the 2030s.