Holly Springs and Woodstock were among 19 city and county governments across the state recently awarded a grand total of $25.8 million in grant and loan money from the State Road and Tollway Authority through the Georgia Transportation Infrastructure Bank.

According to a statement from the SRTA, Holly Springs was awarded $3.5 million in loan money and $1.25 million in grant money, while Woodstock received $1.25 million in grants and $2 million in loan money for road improvement projects.

“We continue to make strides to plan for Georgia’s future growth,” Gov. Brian Kemp said in the release. “This year’s GTIB program represents my commitment to put Georgians first by strengthening rural Georgia through economic development and investment in their transportation network. Forty-two percent of the project awards and five of the eight loans approved are in rural parts of the state, significantly helping to accelerate projects. These projects will assist in advancing regional prosperity by improving infrastructure that supplies agricultural goods to market, developing access to rural economic engines such as industrial parks and enhancing safety through paved road connectivity.”

SRTA Executive Director Chris Tomlinson added, “As with GITB’s rural investment, this round also makes numerous multi-modal investments in metro Atlanta to improve mobility. Innovative projects such as infrastructure in major employment centers, roadway capacity improvements on important regional corridors that support economic development expansion and pave the way for future residential, office and retail development, along with financing innovative technology infrastructure will help to continue to move the needle in making needed transportation advancements.”

Wanting to improve traffic flow in its downtown area, the City of Woodstock applied for money from the SRTA to complete a sizeable transportation project with four major components.

City Manager Jeff Moon said some of the aspects have been under consideration for more than 10 years, but others came along more recently. In 2018, the city contracted with the engineering firm Arcadis to make a careful study of traffic in the area around Main Street, Mill Street and Towne Lake Parkway and recommend solutions. Once all of the information was gathered, it was presented to the Woodstock City Council on Oct. 15, 2018.

“The Arcadis study included careful identification of the anticipated benefits of many various alternatives, including detailed projects of changes to traffic counts and delays throughout this section of the city,” Moon said. “The analysis highlighted substantial benefits to the four major components of the project — the installation of a left-turn capability for eastbound Towne Lake Parkway turning to northbound Main Street, the installation of a roundabout at the intersection of Mill Street and Towne Lake Parkway, the transition of Mill Street from one-way to two-way traffic and the reconfiguration of the Mill Street/Paden Street/Pinehill Lane intersection. These major components, as well as other minor components, all have benefits that are partially contingent on one another. Therefore, the decision was made to pursue these components together as one Transformation Project.”

Once a concept plan design had been put together and public input had been received, Moon said the application to the state was crafted over a six-week period and submitted on Oct. 15, 2019. Multiple departments were involved in the process, including Community Development, Public Works, Economic Development and Finance. In the application, Woodstock requested $2 million in grant money and $2 million in loan money from the Georgia Transportation Infrastructure Bank for the project’s construction. Although the city did not receive the total amount of grant money it had asked for, the $3.25 million it did obtain will go a long way toward the construction of these projects. Under the current timeline, Moon said the city estimates construction work will begin in the mid-to-late spring of 2021.

“We are excited over the project getting funded and looking forward to starting it,” Moon said. “When Arcadis made their presentation to the Council on downtown projects, this project was the no. 1 project on the list for improving traffic flow and addressing traffic problems in downtown.”

Similarly, the City of Holly Springs will use its money to move forward with phase II of the Holly Springs Parkway Widening Project.

Holly Springs City Manager Rob Logan said that the Holly Springs Parkway Widening Project Phase I was completed last year from Sixes Road to Rabbit Hill Road. This project included a signalized intersection at Rabbit Hill Road, four travel lanes with a median, sidewalks and lamp posts.

Phase II of this project will widen Holly Springs Parkway for a distance of 2,900 feet from Rabbit Hill Road to Ronnell Road. Two additional travel lanes will be added along with sidewalks and street lighting. The improvements will relieve congestion to I-575 between Holly Springs and Woodstock. Holly Springs received a loan of $3.5 million and a grant total of $1.25 million from the Georgia Transportation Infrastructure Bank for this project.

Mayor Steven Miller and the Holly Springs City Council approved a resolution to apply for the grant and loan from the Georgia Transportation Infrastructure Bank on Oct. 7, 2019.

Logan said that the engineering has not yet been finalized for the Holly Springs Parkway Widening Project Phase II. This project will help to improve the flow of traffic and improve many other aspects of the area including safety concerns regarding sight distance, for example.

“The project will provide increased traffic capacity and create a better traffic flow along Holly Springs Parkway,” Logan said. “This project will also help improve sight distance and left turn movements in the area. The city of Holly Springs is pleased that the State Road and Tollway Authority Board approved our application this week. We look forward to starting this project, with construction scheduled to begin the first quarter of 2021.”

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