Rockaway realignment underway

Accessing Ga. Highway 74 to the north from Rockaway Road has been a long standing vehicular nightmare. The beginning of the Hwy. 74 widening project is now under way and the first construction project will be the realignment of Rockaway so that it ties in to the traffic signal at Holly Grove Road. Weather permitting, that realignment work is expected to begin sometime in January.

The intersection of Hwy. 74 with Rockaway Road is arguably the most problematic and potentially dangerous portion the entire project area that extends from Cooper Circle to Ga. Highway 85. Rockaway’s long lines and tricky left turns onto Hwy. 74 are a testament to that and have been a hallmark of the congestion at the intersection for years.

GDOT District 3 spokesperson Kimberly Larson said that, by contract requirement, the realignment of Rockaway was designated as the first order of business for the widening project. The realignment will encompass 1,900 linear feet and will have Rockaway re-routed to the west to bring it to the traffic signal with Holly Grove Road, Larson said. Weather permitting, work on the realignment should begin sometime in January, she said.

As with the Rockaway realignment area, trees have been cleared along the widening route and a substantial amount of erosion control is in place, Larson added.

The project will create a four-lane roadway with a 24-foot raised median from Cooper Circle to Hwy. 85, spanning a length of 3.3 miles.

Along with the Rockaway realignment, a new bridge will be constructed over Flat Creek to the north east of the existing bridge location and Padgett Road will be relocated 280 feet west of its current location to link with the Hwy. 74/Hwy. 85 intersection.

The widening contract was awarded in September for $16.9 million and is being funded by federal stimulus money through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

The project completion date is Dec. 31, 2011.

The projected traffic volumes range from 18,900 vehicles per day in 2009 to an expected volume of 31,100 vehicles per day in 2029.

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