Cobb County Airport-McCollum Field began construction on two major projects – a new air traffic control tower and a customs inspection facility – while also completing construction on the extensions of two taxiways.
The new 78-foot air traffic control tower will improve air traffic controllers’ situational awareness (height, glare, obstacles, etc.), expand the capacity for future equipment and will meet current FAA standards for security and personnel space. The existing tower will be demolished, but the airport administration base building will remain and undergo renovations. The $2.9 million project is expected to be completed in February.
The 2,900 square foot general aviation customs facility began construction in fall 2014 and will allow international arrivals into Cobb County Airport. The $800,000 facility, funded by the airport’s fixed base operator Hawthorne Global Aviation Services, is expected to be operational by summer 2015. Earlier in 2014, parallel taxiways were extended 610 feet to the end of the runway. This $1.2 million project improved the efficiency and safety of runway operations by eliminating the need for aircraft to taxi on the runway prior to takeoff.
Cobb Community Transit
In 2014, Cobb Community Transit developed an innovative reservation-based public transportation service for south Cobb. The flex service will fill gaps in existing fixed-route service through three zones in Powder Springs, Austell and on Powder Springs Road. Riders will be able to make reservations for curb-to-curb service anywhere within the five- to seven-mile zone or board the bus at a designated collection location. Implementation of the flex service is expected in 2015.
CCT also made route service improvements to better serve Cobb riders. Time point modifications for Route 30 were implemented in July 2014 to improve on-time performance. Additionally, CCT modified Route 20 to extend service south on South Cobb Drive to serve Cumberland Parkway and the Home Depot Support Center.
Connect Cobb Northwest Atlanta Corridor Environmental Assessment
The Connect Cobb Environmental Assessment continued in 2014. The assessment has taken a closer look at benefits, effects and potential mitigation measures of the locally-preferred alternative identified through the 2012 Connect Cobb Alternatives Analysis.
Connect Cobb is developing a transportation project that will expand mobility for all users along a 25-mile stretch linking northern Cobb County to Midtown Atlanta along the U.S. Highway 41/Interstate 75 corridor. This corridor would link the MARTA transit network with key Cobb County destinations, including Cumberland and Town Center Area Community Improvement Districts, Kennesaw State University and Southern Polytechnic State University, as well as numerous large shopping centers and Dobbins Air Reserve Base.
Cobb in Motion – 2040 Comprehensive Transportation Plan
Technical work for the update of the 2008 Comprehensive Transportation Plan was completed in 2014, with presentation to the Board of Commissioners and cities and final document delivery planned for early 2015. Cobb in Motion: 2040 CTP, prepared in coordination with the cities of Acworth, Austell, Kennesaw, Marietta, Powder Springs and Smyrna, identified local transportation priorities grounded in the community’s overall vision and plans for the future.
South Cobb Transit Evaluation and Implementation Plan
The South Cobb Transit Evaluation and Implementation Plan was completed in 2014. The Board of Commissioners approved modifications to CCT Route 20 and Route 30. The BOC also approved adding three new transit flex zones anchored near Cobb Hospital, and adding a new Route 25 connecting Cumberland to south Cobb. Implementation of the new routes will occur in 2015.
This study also recommended a new transfer center to support these new and expanded services near Cobb WellStar Hospital. The Cobb DOT Planning Division coordinated with multiple county departments to develop a program and preliminary design for the facility, began the site selection process, and sought federal grant funding to aid with construction of the Austell Road/East-West Connector Transfer Center.
Cumberland Circulator Implementation Plan and Route 10X Implementation Plan
The Cumberland Circulator Implementation Plan and Route 10X Implementation Plan were initiated in 2014 and are scheduled for completion in 2015. Cobb County was awarded competitive regional grant funds to operate the Route 10X connecting Kennesaw State University to Life University, Cumberland and downtown Atlanta.
Looking ahead to 2015, the Planning Division will begin work on two major projects: the Americans with Disabilities Act Transition Plan and the CCT Comprehensive Operations Analysis. The ADA Inventory and Transition Plan for pedestrian rights-of-way will provide a survey and documentation of existing facilities and a prioritization process for ADA-compliant retrofit construction. Additionally, a comprehensive operations analysis of CCT will review and evaluate Cobb’s transit operations. The COA will identify opportunities to improve overall efficiency and effectiveness in service delivery, as well as ensure service is provided in the most cost-efficient manner possible.
Closed-circuit television camera coverage was expanded by 38 percent to 90 cameras during 2014. Cobb County uses these cameras on thoroughfares to minimize traffic delays by improving traffic signal operations, improving management of traffic and supporting traveler information systems.
The BlueTOAD travel time monitoring system was expanded from 19 locations to 100 locations. The system now covers almost all thoroughfare roads with speed limits in excess of 45 mph. The BlueTOAD program, which began with a partnership with GDOT, is used to measure traffic signal performance, improve signal operations and support incident management and traveler information systems. The system alerts control center operators of traffic conditions and potential incidents while also providing a congestion map to aid travelers.
Ten dynamic speed display signs, or radar speed feedback signs, were procured and installed as part of a pilot project to determine their effectiveness on specific roadways within the county, including one school zone. The $43,000 project, funded by the 2011 SPLOST, is expected to conclude in late 2015 and will result in a suggested county policy on the use or exclusion of these signs for traffic calming purposes.
Several other projects helped improve county traffic operations in 2014. The flashing yellow arrow operation for left-turning traffic, which was first implemented in the Cobb County in 2013, was expanded to 12 intersections to improve roadway safety. In addition to routine traffic signal retiming activities, Cobb County and the state DOT collaborated for a comprehensive retiming of 40 traffic signals in four corridors: CH James Parkway, Roswell Road, South Cobb Drive and Veterans Memorial Highway. Additionally, a project to upgrade key traffic signs throughout the county began in 2014. The project, funded by the 2011 SPLOST will bring the signs up to recently changed Federal Highway Administration standards (including size, type and retroreflectivity) and is approximately 75 percent complete.
Utilities issued 1,513 permits for utility work within the right-of-way. This permit review and construction inspection effort minimized the effects of utility construction on Cobb roadways, thus improving safety and preserving roadway infrastructure. Permit fees of approximately $240,000 from telecommunications companies offset the corresponding permit and inspection costs. The online electronic permitting system, which was launched in 2013, was expanded in 2014 to include electronic payments for permit fees.