Sope Creek bridge replacement work gives area residents traffic nightmares
by Lindsay Field
June 05, 2013 12:45 AM | 3254 views | 19 19 comments | 11 11 recommendations | email to a friend | print
MARIETTA – A woman who lives off Paper Mill Road near where the Sope Creek bridge is under construction is asking the county to change traffic signals along the detours to ease growing traffic nightmares in the area.

“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.”

10,000 cars

being rerouted

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.

Comments
(19)
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Ben Mountain
|
June 18, 2013
I think it's great that they are replacing this bridge! I'll put up with some inconvenience now than to have a bridge collapse. Really, I haven't experienced any real delays.

It's nice to see our elected officials supporting such a great project. Sounds like the guy from the DOT knows his stuff.
Al G.
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June 07, 2013
Instead of complaining, perhaps Dana and the crew need to ride bikes.

It is good for the envrionment, lowers your carbon footprint, and gets you in shape.

How abour making 'da ATL' about green instead of gats?

That's all I'm saying!
Chucktown_
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June 06, 2013
I've never had any issues with my commute either. The construction and detours are all well-marked.

Maybe try a book on tape.
B. Wayne
|
June 06, 2013
How about car pooling? It will minimize the amount of cars out there. The same way people complaint and whine about things the elected officials do for them, they can come together to mitigate the TEMPORARY effects of these works. Communicate, coordinate. Those expensive smart phones are not just for playing Angry Birds only!!!!!!
Dick Grayson
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June 07, 2013
I once read where the inconvenience is temporary, but the improvements are permanent. Words to live by.
Mike In Smyrna
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June 05, 2013
Who is the prankster? Dana cannot be real. The MDJ has been pranked.
B. Rubble
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June 06, 2013
It's hard to figure what's driving Miss Dana.

Some folks are just haters.
K. Brown
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June 05, 2013
I haven't had any problems with the detour. I'm thankful for the county replacing this old bridge and the sidewalk will be a great addtion. I didn't know they were giving an incentive for the work to get done sooner, that's a great idea!
L. Rayder
|
June 06, 2013
No joke, that incentive for early completion is an awesome idea. Whoever came up with that deserves kudos.

I wish more folks were forward thinking like that.
C. Kent
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June 06, 2013
I just hope that whoever came up with that early completion incentive doesn't accidentally delete it from the next project.
Dexman PE
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June 05, 2013
Never had an issue with my commute. Maybe if some of these soccer moms get off their damn cellphones they'd notice traffic moves just fine too...
S. Sturrer
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June 05, 2013
I travel this route daily and my commute hasn't been disrupted in the least. I have no idea what Miss Dana is talking about.
S. Batter
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June 06, 2013
I haven't seen any delays either. I am not sure what Miss Dana is talking about. We are fortunate to get a new bridge. My brother lives in a state that isn't doing much upgrading, and his commutes are delayed an hour each way because they need new bridges.
Pat H
|
June 05, 2013
The lights on Lower Roswell, Old Canton and East Piedmont have been poorly timed for rush hour for years.

The employees who monitor the lights do not travel in the rush hour traffic, do not go around Cobb at different times to judge the delays and ignore the complaints. I was to meet an employee during rush hour because I believed he needed to see it in person but he stood me up.
RoadRunner426
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June 05, 2013
I don't see what the big deal is. I haven't experienced any delays.

maybe someone needs another cat.
E.Baker
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June 05, 2013
Not sure about the basis of the complaint as I haven't expereinced any notable delays during my commute and there doesn't seem to any real impact on traffic flow.
M. Hunt
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June 05, 2013
I haven't experienced any delays either.

Is Sopes bridge the one Billy Joe McCallister jumped off of?
Just Wait
|
June 05, 2013
Poor little east cobbers. They should sue the county for this horrible inconvenience.
anonymous
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June 05, 2013
We sat at Woodlawn (going north) at Lower Roswell and watched light change three times, never allowing us a green. Finally turned right to go the long way up Johnson Ferry Road rather than run the red. I wonder how many tickets people will be getting (filling coffers) because of such frustrations.

We didn't call because we don't like to dwell on blood pressure raising items and to call would be to extend the frustration.
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