County crews have dotted the side of the road between Cobb Parkway and Burnt Hickory Road since June 2011 and will wrap up by the end of October.
A lane has been added in each direction bringing the four-lane road to a six-lane thoroughfare. A new pedestrian bridge and a 10-foot wide multi-use trail were also added.
The $21.7 million project funded by special purpose local option sales taxes had been put on the county’s backburner.
Included in the 2005 voter-approved SPLOST, the widening was deferred when sales tax collections fell during the Great Recession, said Helen Goreham, who represents the area on the Cobb Board of Commissioners.
Barrett Parkway couldn’t handle the estimated 40,000 vehicles using it each day, and was projected to see another 10,000 cars by 2030, said Michael Wright, the Cobb Department of Transportation engineer who oversees projects in northwest Cobb.
The 3-mile stretch is a route for commuters traveling from west Cobb to east Cobb and back.
“The original traffic studies done in 2008, when design work began, showed the level of service for most of the corridor would be ‘F,’ or failure, by the current year of 2013,” Wright said. “By constructing the project the (level of service) will be ‘A’ or ‘B’ for most of the corridor through the year 2030.”
Goreham says traffic concerns make up the majority of complaints that come through her office, and she has been told by some area residents the stretch of asphalt needed to be expanded.
Still, construction took a toll on some neighborhoods and businesses.
“People were staying off Barrett and using parallel roads,” Goreham said.
That put more pressure on New Salem and Stanley roads.
Big Peach Running Co., which faces Barrett Parkway from its 1625 Ridenour Blvd. location, saw fewer customers this summer while the bulk of the roadwork was underway, said Steven Murray, manager of the running equipment store.
“You can ask any business over here and they’ll tell you it was slow,” Murray said.
Now that the orange construction barrels along the road will soon disappear, he’s looking forward to taking advantage of the multiuse trail that runs along the front of the store.
The store hosts group runs every Tuesday and Thursday and has had trouble finding a route that is attractive to seasoned runners and newer athletes, although it is near Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park.
“Either way, it’s not that friendly for people who don’t want to run hills,” Murray said.
He also hopes the trail will send more joggers and runners his way – looking for shoes.