Improvements to a busy Cumming intersection are on track, according to representatives of the Georgia Department of Transportation.
Teri Pope, a DOT spokeswoman, said the project, which involves improvements on Atlanta Highway near where it meets Meadow Drive and Bald Ridge and Mary Alice Park roads, is about one-third complete.
“The project, as of the end of September, is 35 percent complete, so it’s right on schedule,” Pope said. “The completion date is June 30, 2013, and work actually began on April 30, so we’re almost seven months into construction.”
Lunell Robbs, owner of Mr. Swiss restaurant on Atlanta Highway, said the project hasn’t had much impact on her business so far.
“Any construction’s going to be a little inconvenient for some people, I guess, but it really hasn’t hurt us any,” Robbs said. “I really don’t think it has because right now they don’t have anything blocked on our side.”
Improvements will include connecting Mary Alice Park and Bald Ridge roads. They will then flow together and join Meadow, which will be extended.
Meadow will then meet Atlanta Highway at a traffic light, and stop signs will be added at Mary Alice Park and Bald Ridge roads.
Upgrades will include making all the intersections 90-degree angles, as well as leveling some hills to flatten the topography, and improving grades of roads, which will be straightened as much as possible.
The project is estimated to cost about $6.4 million, which will come from a combination of federal and state funding. The city of Cumming also contributed $1.5 million for right-of-way purchases.
Pope said the relocation of utility lines for the project is scheduled to be complete by the end of this week.
“Georgia Transmission is planning to move their last power pole that is in what will be the new roadway, so that’s very exciting,” she said.
She also noted that crews with Baldwin Paving Company, which was awarded the construction contract of $1.5 million, are working on laying asphalt.
“We have got the bottom layer down on 80 percent of the project and they’ve worked up to where this power pole is … when it’s moved, then we can finish the base layer on the rest of the project,” she said.
“And then after that, we’ll start on the middle layer, called the binder, and once we get the binder down, we’ll shift traffic onto the part that’s built.”
Pope said crews are also pouring concrete curbing, and this week they are also scheduled to start building a retaining wall on the Atlanta Highway side of the project.
“Our construction season is usually March through October and then, based on historical temperatures, not much happens November through February because asphalt is very temperature-sensitive,” she said. “This retaining wall is work they can do in the colder months … to keep the project going.”
Pope expressed gratitude for the public’s understanding as the project has progressed.
“It is going well and we appreciate everybody’s patience,” she said. “This is really going to increase the safety and the overall efficiency of that area.”
That’s what Robbs, at Mr. Swiss, is counting on.
“I hope it will help because there are five roads actually coming in there now, so hopefully it will be better in the end,” she said.