Update: Construction is set to begin Monday, July 18.
The City Council of Kennesaw held a work session Thursday to discuss a large and expensive city project intended to ease traffic congestion on Jiles Road. The project, , has drawn both praise and criticism from the citizens of Kennesaw.
The project aims to ease congestion by expanding Jiles Road from a two-lane to a four-lane road. The next phase of the construction is projected to cost about $11 million and estimated to take about two years to complete.
Cobb District 1 Engineer Mike Wright spoke first, detailing the proceedings of the project for about 40 citizens who attended the meeting. Wright expressed confidence that the project will proceed in a timely and orderly fashion.
"We feel very comfortable that this is going to be a good project," he said.
Wright and Haven Thomas, the field engineer for the project, took questions from the public.
"I see no reason why we can't get from Baker Park to Legacy Road under traffic within one year," Thomas said.
Some citizens expressed concerns about the heavy construction that would be going on around their homes. Thomas assured them that the project would be cleaned up as it went along, rather than leaving the area a huge mess for the estimated two years that the project will take.
"We're going to get this done as quick as possible," he said. "(The road) won't be open from one end to the other looking like a bomb went off, I assure you," he said.
One question that came up dealt with road closures during the construction.
"At times, it will be one lane traffic," Wright responded. "It is a necessary evil."
Thomas said the area will be under construction from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day. He said he did not expect any night work to take place.
Mayor Mathews thanked the public for attending the meeting and adding input to the project. He also expressed confidence in the project and an eagerness to continue moving forward with it.
"We're getting there," he said. "I think (expectations) will be exceeded."
The mayor also reminded everyone that these meetings are specifically held for getting information to the citizens. He encouraged the attendees to register for newsletters and keep tabs on the city's website.
On a side note, two brief power outages drew a bit of laughter from the audience as they were well timed with City Manager Steve Kennedy answering questions about whether there would be issues with the construction and power lines.
"Is that our notification?" someone joked.
A blown transformer which caused the power outages forced everyone to exit through the city jail.
"I bet you weren't planning to get a tour of the jail, too!" Mathews joked, adding that Kennesaw always throws in a bonus for its citizens.