The expansion of a 6.2-mile stretch of Macland Road is expected to be put out for bid by the state transportation department this spring, state officials say.

The $54 million project stretches from New Macland Road in Cobb County to State Route 120 in Paulding County and is designed to expand Macland Road from two to four lanes separated by a median.

The project will take four years to complete, according to Tori Brown, Georgia Department of Transportation spokesperson.

“We have struggled some with east-west movement,” Cobb County Manager Rob Hosack said when asked why the project was necessary. “Paulding doesn’t have an interstate connection, a direct one, so a lot of times they’ll come through Cobb.”

A fact sheet from the Atlanta Regional Roundtable, prepared in 2012, was more specific: “In Cobb County, the 1995-2015 Comprehensive Plan cited SR 360 into Paulding County as a major facility experiencing increasing traffic congestion,” it reads. “ARC regional travel demand model calculations indicate that the completed project will reduce congestion along this section of the corridor by 16% compared to current conditions, even after accounting for several years of growth in development and traffic volumes between today and when the project is completed.”

Brown said more recent traffic projections for Macland Road are being updated and will be available in the near future.

Some were surprised to hear the news.

“This project has been pushed down and pushed down and pushed down,” west Cobb Commissioner Keli Gambrill said. “We were told, just within the past six months, that GDOT wouldn’t be doing that project until 2027, 2032.”

Hosack echoed Gambrill.

“We have been under the impression it was going to be a longer term project, so when we got this info it was like, wow, this is fantastic news,” he said.

Plans to widen that stretch of Macland Road date to at least 2011.

It was among the projects Cobb residents approved when they voted for the 2011 penny sales tax, although it would have been tackled “only if sufficient federal, state or other grant assistance becomes available.”

On Wednesday, Hosack said GDOT would fund the entire project. The road will likely remain open during construction, he added.

“GDOT is really good about doing phased construction,” he said. “There may be some lane closures here and there (but) we don’t anticipate any closures of the road.”

Once the project is completed, Macland Road will have a curb, gutter and sidewalks, Brown said.

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