In 2015, Cobb County International Airport completed construction of its new $2.9 million air traffic control tower, a project partially funded with $1.3 million of federal and state grants. Construction was also completed on a customs facility, which began international operations in June. The customs facility allows the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agency to conduct customs inspections on international arrivals into Cobb County. The airport name was updated to Cobb County International Airport – McCollum Field to reflect its new capability for accepting international arrivals.
Engineering for the north apron rehabilitation and expansion project was completed in 2015 and $4.2 million of federal and state grant funding is available for improvements to the north aircraft parking apron. Four months of construction is expected to begin spring 2016, providing additional aircraft parking spaces while also increasing a safety buffer between aircraft operating on the apron.
Design began on approach lighting of the airport’s runway with the $55,000 engineering contract being funded by the Town Center Area Community Improvement District. The three month installation of the $350,000 approach light system is expected to begin in spring 2016 with 75 percent funding from the state.
Cobb Community Transit is setting trends by creating a new system name and logo to provide a fresh look and new perspective for CCT within the community. The rebranding process is expected to be completed by summer 2016.
The purchase of 35 new buses in 2015 follows a strategic and targeted fleet replacement plan. The plan was implemented to forecast bus replacement and prioritizes to save money in both procurement and maintenance costs. A total of 35 buses have already been procured and are expected to be delivered in May 2016. These new buses will lower the average age of the local service fleet from the current 10 years to just below three years.
Efforts are underway develop a new Cumberland area mobility service to address the needs of a diverse, large and dynamic activity center for regularly scheduled connectivity amongst offices, shopping, residential, recreational and tourism users.
CCT is conducting two studies – the CCT Route 10X Implementation Plan and CCT Route 10 On-Time Performance and Capacity Analysis – to identify potential improvements to Route 10, its most heavily used route. The studies are a collaborative effort that will evaluate a premium bus service to reduce overcrowding, improve on-time performance and test the possibility of the premium service for other CCT routes to better serve our riders.
The street light program currently provides more than 44,000 street lights throughout Cobb County. Most lights are located within the county’s 3,200 street light districts which collectively serve more than 117,000 customers. More than 1,500 new customers were added in 2015. The annual budget for the program in 2015 was approximately $5.6 million.
Notable achievements in the street light program in 2015 included several LED lighting projects. Along Barrett Parkway in the Town Center Mall area, existing street light fixtures installed in the 1980s were replaced with brighter, more energy efficient LED fixtures to improve nighttime safety. The program continues, in partnership with Cumberland CID, installing new lighting in the Cumberland area along many corridors, to include updated street lights and smaller-scale pedestrian lights with nearly 350 new luminaires, the newest of which, are also energy efficient LEDs. Upon full implementation, nearly all of the roadways within the Cumberland area will be illuminated with signature, decorative lighting fixtures to enhance the appearance of the area during the day and improve safety for motorists and pedestrians after dark.
The Connect Cobb Environmental Assessment continued in 2015 with completion of technical work and a final document. The remainder of the project schedule, managed by the Planning Division, consisted of coordination with federal agencies to finalize a decision document. The assessment has taken a closer look at benefits, impacts and potential mitigation measures of the locally preferred alternative identified through the Connect Cobb Alternatives Analysis in 2012.
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 Community Improvement Districts and Kennesaw State University (main and Marietta campuses), as well as numerous large shopping centers and Dobbins Air Reserve Base.
After a multi-year planning process, the county and cities finalized the Comprehensive Transportation Plan 2040. In May, CTP 2040 was adopted by the Board of Commissioners. The cities of Acworth, Austell, Kennesaw, Marietta, Powder Springs and Smyrna each followed suit. CTP 2040 identifies local transportation priorities that are grounded in the community’s overall vision and plans for the future.
The Planning Division managed a project to rebrand Cobb Community Transit that resulted in the creation of a new logo and name, CobbLinc.
The technical work on the Cumberland Circulator Implementation Plan, Route 10 Service Evaluation, and Route 10X Implementation Plan were completed in 2015. Cobb County had previously been awarded competitive regional grant funds to operate the Route 10X connecting Kennesaw State University to Life University, Cumberland and downtown Atlanta. The Board of Commissioners authorized procurement of six buses to implement the everyday Cumberland Circulator. Additionally, an electric bus feasibility study was conducted for the Cumberland Circulator.
In summer 2015, the Planning Division developed and submitted federal grant applications that resulted in the award of federal funds to conduct a planning study that will involve Phase One of an update to the Cobb County Bicycle and Pedestrian Improvement Plan, assist with developing engineering plans for Windy Hill Boulevard – a joint Smyrna-Cobb County project – and assist with purchase of right-of-way for the Town Center/KSU/Noonday Creek Trail Pedestrian/Bicycle Connector. This Town Center CID project will link the KSU main campus, Fifth Third Bank Stadium, Noonday Creek Trail and Town Center at Cobb.
Utility construction work in right-of-way has increased in the county due to broadband telecommunications expansion and utility pole replacement programs. The county utility group provides needed services to minimize the impacts of utility construction on county roadways, to improve safety, preserve roadway infrastructure and reduce work zone traffic delays. Recent roadway safety improvements include moving 30 utility poles from the clear zone. A total of 1,700 utility permits were issued and permit fees of approximately $395,000 from telecommunications companies were collected to offset corresponding permit and inspection costs.