After several months of redesigns, a number of new proposed maps for a project intended to improve traffic congestion on Jiles Road were shown to residents during a meeting Tuesday at the .
In February, mapped plans for the $11 million project were made public. The plans drew heavy criticism from many members of the Kennesaw community, primarily residents of the Olmstead Main subdivision, who would have seen their subdivision entrance altered to only accommodate right turn exits.
“It doesn’t matter how much time we spend, how many meetings we have, or how many engineers we have working on these plans,” said Kennesaw City Manager Steve Kennedy. “We’re not going to be able to make every single resident that travels or lives on Jiles Road, or off of Jiles Road, happy.”
“We think the concern we heard the most about at the last meeting was what we were doing at Olmstead Main,” said Cobb District 1 Engineer Mike Wright. “A lot of people were opposed to that, so we went back and did a careful look at traffic numbers, the traffic that’s coming in and out of Olmstead Main, the traffic that’s going to be on Jiles Road (and) we feel we can take that median out and make that a full access intersection just like everybody wanted.”
“We think it will satisfy everybody that was concerned about what we were doing at Olmstead,” Wright continued. “And even though we’re about ready to begin construction, what we’re showing now is nothing but paint. We can change things around pretty easily.”
Wright said that no additional alterations were currently planned for Olmstead Main. “Unless we do something very extensive,” Wright said, “we’re not going to make any significant improvements.”
Wright said he had met with members of the Cobb County school district about concerns regarding bus circulation at , stating that the people he spoke with were “very pleased with what we’ve got.” Wright said there are plans to construct a dedicated right turning lane into the school to soothe morning congestion, as well as a two-way left turning lane, with a dedicated left turning lane for buses. Additionally, Wright said that construction and development on Jiles Road would result in “no difficulties with bus routing.”
Wright said the roadway from English Oaks to Legacy Park will be two lanes, with a median and a turning lane.
“At the ends of the project, towards the school, Old 41 to U.S. 41, it will be multiple lanes,” Wright said. “It varies according to where the intersections are.”
Wright assured attendees that the project, which was approved by voters during the 2005 Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST), was “100 percent funded.” Wright estimates total costs of this phase of construction to be around $11 million. “The money is in the bank,” Wright told the audience. “We will actually take bids next Thursday.”
Wright said the project should take two years to complete. “We’re probably going to actually start building and constructing in about 60 days,” he said. “It’s going to take two years to do the entire project, from the bridge all the way to 41.”
Wright said the estimated completion date for the project up to Legacy Park is approximately one year.
“The bad part relative to revenue,” Kennedy said, “was that we just got a letter from Cobb County, who got information from the state that we are going to have to drop $17.5 million of current SPLOST projects that haven’t been collected for or haven’t been started.”
Kennedy said Kennesaw has had to cut out almost $2 million in anticipated SPLOST revenues. “It’s taking $624,000 out of forecasted revenue Kennesaw would have had for seven or eight other projects we were wanting to do as well.”
Kennedy concluded by saying that the Jiles Road project would not be affected by ongoing SPLOST funding reductions.
“This one is in place and funded,” he said. “We have anticipated (cutbacks) and know that the money is going to be there.”
“We’re already getting the forecast that money is going to be light,” Kennedy said. “This one, because of the size of it, and the magnitude of it, is going to give us the biggest bang for our buck.”