“I’m just asking that (Cobb DOT) redo the traffic lights at Indian Hills Parkway, Fairfield Drive and Woodlawn Drive along Lower Roswell Road,” said Dana, who ask that her last name not be used because she lives alone in the area.
The bridge over Sope Creek in east Cobb closed May 28 and is scheduled to be reopened Oct. 25. Cobb DOT is replacing the old bridge, which was built nearly 100 years ago.
Residents are being detoured down Lower Roswell Road just north of Paper Mill, which is causing traffic backups during morning and afternoon rush hours.
“The lights between Terrell Mill and Johnson Ferry Road need to be reviewed, especially during commute hours or even just daylight hours,” she said.
Her afternoon commute home sometimes has been extended by more than 30 minutes because of the road closure.
She called Cobb DOT last Thursday morning to make the traffic light change suggestion.
“They were very, very nice and said they would look into it, but there haven’t been any changes so far,” she said.
Mike Cates, who oversees engineering and construction with Cobb DOT, said he personally hasn’t received any complaints but a majority of the ones that have come into the office are similar to Dana’s.
“We are trying to address them as we get them,” he said Tuesday. “Usually the first week or so of these closures are the worst.”
Cates said they tweaked the lights along Lower Roswell already once on Monday but that they will continue to evaluate the traffic flow as construction continues through the summer and into fall.
“There are 10,000 cars that use Paper Mill every day, and all of those drivers are trying to find different ways to go,” he said.
There is signage at the entrance of Paper Mill Road off Terrell Mill Road to indicate detours and road closure and five message boards were placed throughout the area to remind drivers of the bridge construction.
Cates said demolition at the bridge has not started yet because utilities under the bridge are still being removed and rerun. These include water, electricity, cable and gas lines.
“We started in the spring to get the power companies to start moving all of that,” he said.
The crane is arriving on site in pieces today and bridge demolition should begin sometime before Thursday afternoon.
“It all depends on how long it takes to get the crane together,” Cates said.
Why the construction?
The bridge, originally built in 1925, will be replaced for $2.12 million using SPLOST funds.
Sunbelt Structures of Tucker was awarded the contract. The company is also building the New Chastain and Hopkins roads’ bridges.
Construction at Sope Creek includes reducing the number of beams holding the bridge up from five to one, elevating rail guard along each side of the bridge and the road itself by five or six feet and widening the bridge to make room for a sidewalk and to help ease the sharp curve.
The bridge will have a rock-wall textured finish so that it fits in better with the national park’s natural setting along the creek.
Cates said there is also an incentive clause in the contract with Sunbelt that if they complete the bridge earlier than scheduled, they can earn extra money because the route is so heavily traveled.