In 2015, Cobb County Department of Transportation initiated, continued and completed work on many of its Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax-funded projects. For the 2005 SPLOST, engineering/design has started or been completed on each of the 340 identified projects. Construction has started on 328 projects with 322 projects reaching completion.
Major projects underway or completed in 2015 included Windy Hill Road, Atlanta Road at I-285 Interchange, Cedarcrest Road, Powder Springs Road at Cheatham Hill Road/Callaway Road intersection improvement and Cobb Parkway bridge over the Chattahoochee River.
For the 2011 SPLOST, engineering/design has started or been completed on more than 200 identified projects. Construction has started on 170 projects, with more than 140 reaching completion. Projects completed or underway in 2015 include Floyd Road, Windy Hill Road, Skip Spann Connector and Pine Mountain Road.
2015 has been another active and productive year for the PARKS team managing projects under the 2011 PRCA SPLOST program. The entire program is comprised of an $83.5 million dollar PRCA SPLOST budget with 172 projects in 50 of our parks and facilities. To date, we have completed 70 percent of these projects and have another 22 percent under construction.
To make the available funding stretch as far as possible, PARKS staff is directly involved in many of the construction activities, ranging from building construction, roof replacements and painting to laser grading and athletic field construction. The majority of work continues to be in selecting and managing the efforts of a variety of professional architecture/engineering firms and construction contractors, remaining on budget and on schedule. An added challenge is to perform this work safely in our parks with the least possible disruption to the athletic schedules and activities of our users and volunteers.
Some examples of the projects in 2015:
Fair Oaks Park Athletic Field and Building Renovation
The renovation of Fair Oaks Park in Marietta was completed in August with a construction cost of $1.2 million. The project included the rehabilitation of soccer/football fields and construction of a replacement concession/restroom building and a maintenance/restroom building. Under a separate contract, a new roof was installed on the Fair Oaks Recreation Center.
Al Bishop Park Athletic Field and Building Renovation
The renovation of Al Bishop Softball Complex was completed in February with a construction cost of $1.3 million. The project included the renovation of the five field softball complex, with a central restroom/concession building, park management offices and a second floor scorekeepers area. Al Bishop is one of the preeminent softball tournament facilities in the southeast.
Cobb County Civic Center Renovation and Expansion
Currently under construction, with a construction cost of $5.2 million, the Civic Center renovation will be one of the signature projects of the 2011 PARKS SPLOST. The existing building will be upgraded to meet modern codes, will include a new kitchen to support large events, break out meeting rooms, and expanded restroom capacity. A major new addition is underway at the front of the building, which will house a large pre-function area, new offices and ticketing, and a large new meeting room that can be subdivided. Construction is scheduled for completion in March 2016.
Tennis Center Building Replacement – Fair Oaks Park and Sweetwater Park
In November, PARKS completed the final two of the five tennis center buildings scheduled for replacement under the 2011 PARKS SPLOST program. Replacements are complete at Harrison Tennis Center, Kennworth Tennis Center and Terrell Mill Tennis Center. The nearly identical Fair Oaks and Sweetwater centers were constructed simultaneously at a combined cost of $1.7 million. The new centers are larger, have better ADA access, are more energy efficient and provide more shade and better sight lines to the courts than their predecessors did.
Hyde Farm Historic Building Rehabilitation
The rehabilitation of the historic Hyde Farm house, barn and farm outbuildings was completed in June, with a total construction cost of $1.4 million. Hyde Farm in east Cobb was continuously farmed by only two families from the 1830s to 2004. When the county purchased the property, all of the farm buildings were in various states of deterioration. The goal of the project was to bring the farm buildings to a condition that will support the county’s long term plans for the farm. Upcoming projects will concentrate on the farm terraces and buffer areas, resulting in a sustainable working farm.
Fullers Park Building Replacement
The replacement of three concession/restroom buildings was completed at a combined cost of $1.2 million. The building serving the football association at the park was finished in April, and the two buildings serving the very active baseball association was completed earlier in the spring. In addition, PARKS staff completed the design and construction of a new maintenance building in the park. Prior to that, a variety of improvements had been completed in the Fullers Recreation Center.
Sandy Plains Park Athletic Field and Building Rehabilitation
The rehabilitation of four softball fields and the replacement of a concession/restroom building was completed in July. At the request of the softball association in the park, an old concession / restroom building was replaced by a new restroom/storage building. Construction costs totalled $1 million.
Shaw Park Athletic Field and Building Rehabilitation
The rehabilitation of four baseball fields and the replacement of a concession/restroom building was completed in January. Construction costs were $857,000. The project also included ADA access improvements, paving and upgrades to an additional existing concession/restroom building.
Seven Springs Water Park
The construction of the Seven Springs Water Park in Powder Springs was completed in May, at a construction cost of $3 million. The new complex has a zero entry pool with splash pad features, lazy river, two large water slides, a bath house with concession and additional parking. The contract also included improvements to the nearby lake and dam at the park.
Hurt Road Park Athletic Field and Building Rehabilitation
The rehabilitation of four softball fields, the conversion of a multi-purpose field into two football fields, the replacement of a concession/restroom building and construction of a new maintenance building were completed in April. Construction costs were $1.3 million.
This project constructs a new bridge over Butler Creek and provides safety and operational improvements to Nance Road from just west of the Cobblestone Golf Course entrance to Lakeview Way. Improvements to Lakeview Way are also in progress. Construction activities began April 2014 and were completed in March 2015.
Clay Road Sidewalk
This sidewalk project was completed in June 2015. The project included the construction of 1.63 miles of sidewalk between Austell Road and Mable Lake Drive. This $1.36 million project also included culvert extensions to accommodate sidewalk across Buttermilk Creek Tributary and the Clay Branch Creek Tributary.
Dallas Highway streetscapes
This project was completed in August 2015. The $2.96 million project included a 12-foot wide enhanced sidewalk along the south side of SR 120 (Dallas Highway) from Casteel Road / Old Hamilton Road to Villa Rica Way.
Powder Springs Road at Cheatham Hill Road/Callaway Road
This is an intersection improvement project that includes new turn lanes, sidewalk, and pedestrian accommodations. This $2 million project began in March 2014 and was completed in September 2015.
Queen Mill Road
This 1.8-mile project added safety and operational improvements to Queen Mill Road between Mableton Parkway and Veterans Memorial Highway. The project also added curb, gutter, sidewalks, and drainage improvements where needed. The construction cost of the project was $3.57 million and was completed in August 2015.
In 2015, the county awarded $20.3 million for three resurfacing contracts as part of the 2011 SPLOST. Since October 2011, these contracts have resulted in a total resurfacing of 1,518 streets (480 miles) within the county’s four commission districts. This represents a cumulative investment of $96 million in preserving county infrastructure.
Floyd Road Widening
The project consists of improvements to Floyd Road, from Veterans Memorial Highway to Clay Road. These improvements will widen the roadway to accommodate four lanes with a divided median, add an eight-foot to 12-foot wide multi-use trail on the west side, and a five-foot wide sidewalk on the east side. The project will also add dual left turn lanes from Floyd Road onto Veterans Memorial Highway. The project began in January 2015 and is scheduled for completion in July 2016.
John Ward Road at Cheatham Hill Road
The project consists of constructing a single-lane roundabout at the intersection along with sidewalk in the surrounding areas. This $2.2 million project began in September 2014 and was scheduled for completion by the end of 2015.
Pine Mountain Road
This project consists of horizontal and vertical improvements from Stilesboro Road to just east of Shillings Road. The $3.9 million project includes sight distance improvements, widening travel lanes, sidewalk and turn lanes and is scheduled for completion July 2016.
Six Flags Drive
This $1.6 million project includes minor widening and the addition of curb, gutter, and sidewalks along Six Flags Drive from Riverside Parkway to Six Flags Parkway. The project began in February 2014 and is scheduled for completion in January 2016.
Skip Spann Connector
Construction on the $13 million Skip Spann Connector began in April 2014. The Skip Spann Connector will provide a new bridge over Interstate 75 north of Chastain Road to provide direct access from Kennesaw State University to the Town Center economic activity center. The project is expected to provide 19 percent reduction in daily traffic along Chastain Road at the I-75 interchange. It will also provide congestion relief, improved access from KSU to the Northwest Corridor Managed Lanes access ramps at Big Shanty and the GRTA/CCT park and ride lots and pedestrian and bicycle access between KSU and the stadium. Construction is scheduled for completion in spring 2016.
Windy Hill Road Corridor
These projects include widening and improvements between Cobb Parkway / U.S. Highway 41 and Powers Ferry Road. The corridor will be reconstructed to a six lane, median divided roadway with upgrades to the major intersections along the corridor. Before the end of 2015, the county will let additional projects on the corridor including a diverging diamond interchange at I-75 and an intersection improvement at Cobb Parkway. The total investment in the corridor is expected to exceed $30 million. Construction is underway and is scheduled for completion in spring 2017.
Safety improvements delivered include expansion of the flashing yellow arrow left turn signal display, completion of development of GIS crash analysis tools and implementation of a new school zone flashing beacon control system. The county first used the flashing yellow arrow left turn signal display in 2013, and with recently completed projects implemented it at 40 intersections. A review indicated a substantial crash reduction of about 35 percent has been achieved. The average cost for a conversion project is approximately $15,000 per approach and funding for the projects have for the most part been provided by the 2011 SPLOST Transportation Improvement Program.
The county maintains a database of crash reports for purposes to include identifying needed safety improvement projects and countermeasures. One countermeasure implemented in 2014 at two intersections resulted in a reduction of crashes with injury by about 65 percent. Completion of the GIS crash analysis tool project has automated and improved the process of importing and reviewing crash reports, as well as the process of analyzing crash data. Funding for the project was provided by the 2011 SPLOST Transportation Improvement Program at a cost of $80,000.
School zone flashing beacons are used to reduce speed limits in the vicinity of schools to improve safety for pedestrian and vehicular traffic. Control, monitoring and maintenance of the 218 school zone flashing beacons was greatly improved with the recently completed upgrade project which leverages cellular communications for direct access to the controllers. Funding for the project was provided by the 2011 SPLOST Transportation Improvement Program at a cost of $300,000.
Mobility improvements delivered include traffic signal retiming, expansion of traffic camera coverage, an upgrade of the traffic congestion map webpage now known as Cobb Commute and design of an improved fiber optic cable Intelligent Transportation System network.
In order to respond to changes in traffic patterns on thoroughfare roads and to provide optimum traffic flow, the county periodically retimes traffic signal systems. The county in partnership with the state Department of Transportation retimed 80 traffic signals in five corridors: East-West Connector, Austell Road, Sandy Plains Road, Shallowford Road and Richard Sailors Pkwy/ Powder Springs Road.
Additionally, the county reviewed and adjusted timing parameters for 50 signals in the Sydney Coordinated Adaptive Traffic System. These improvements included adjustments to accommodate traffic diverted due to incidents on I-75 and for events at the Fifth Third Bank Stadium on the Kennesaw State University campus. Funding for the corridor retiming projects was provided by GDOT. Funding for the SCATS optimization projects was provided by the 2005 SPLOST Transportation Improvement Program at a cost of $25,000.
Closed-circuit television traffic cameras are an integral component of the county’s Advanced Transportation Management System which facilitates signal system management, incident management and event management to improve mobility and minimize traffic delays. Sixty Cobb County traffic cameras were added bringing the total to 150 and greatly improving thoroughfare road coverage. Funding for the project was provided by the 2011 SPLOST Transportation Improvement Program at a cost of $250,000.
The county installed a Bluetooth travel time monitoring system in 2012 for the purpose of improving mobility by monitoring and optimizing traffic signal operations and communicating available roadway capacity or route options. Communication of traffic speeds from the Bluetooth system, along with construction roadway impacts, events and incidents are displayed on a webpage, which is available on most computer devices from desktop computers to smart phones. A project was recently completed to upgrade the web page, which has been rebranded as CobbCommute. Funding for the project was provided by the 2011 SPLOST Transportation Improvement Program at a cost of $40,000.
The backbone of the county ATMS is the network which includes 200 miles of fiber optic cable; and the county master plan includes upgrade projects to provide a more fault tolerant network with redundant paths and distributed hubs. Design of the Phase 1A and a portion of Phase 1B upgrade projects has been completed. Funding for the project was provided by the 2011 SPLOST Transportation Improvement Program at a cost of $345,000.
East Marietta Library
Funding for a replacement facility for the East Marietta Library, one of the Library System’s busiest and most crowded locations, was secured in 2015. Situated adjacent to Sewell Park on Lower Roswell Road, the 25,000-square-foot facility is a joint-use project of the Library System and Cobb PARKS. Construction of the $8.6 million complex to replace the 8,600-square-foot library built in 1967 will take place in 2016. The multi-use facility will include traditional library services like story times for children and reference assistance with new technologies for collaborative creativity, such as 3-D printing, audio/video recording and a black box theater. The combined library and cultural arts center is designed to serve the nearby community as well as be a destination for all of Cobb County. Funding for the facility is from the 2016 SPLOST and a grant from the Georgia Public Library Service.
A new Public Safety Training Center and Police Headquarters was approved by voters in 2015 to be funded by the 2016 SPLOST. We are currently advertising for qualified companies to conduct a needs assessment for both projects. The first phase of the SPLOST funded police vehicles was purchased and the Assigned Vehicle Program began initial implementation.
Support Services ordered and placed into service a dozen vehicles in 2015. This includes specifying, ordering through Cobb County Purchasing, receiving and inspecting, design and install graphics, purchase and installation of emergency lights, sirens and radios. In May 2015, Fire Engines were in service at Stations 9, 16, 22 and 26 at a cost of $527,369 each. Other equipment included a Hackney Hazardous Materials Truck for $292,959 as well as 60 Bullard Thermal Imaging Cameras and associated equipment for a cost of $464,687.