DOT Director of Planning Toby Carr told the Adairsville Council of the Cartersville-Bartow County Chamber of Commerce on Thursday that the state is currently in the process of obtaining some 160 parcels of right of way for the widening of the two-lane highway.
“That’s a multi-year process,” Carr said. “Right of way never happens exactly how you think. You just give yourself some buffer time.”
Carr said it was a one-parcel-at-a-time process and indicated that actual purchases of properties along Ga. 140 might not occur until well into 2013.
Carr, who was brought to Adairsville by state Rep. Christian Coomer, R-Cartersville, said there were some hopeful signs on the funding front.
He told the Bartow business group that motor fuel funds are inching back up a little bit, and a new federal transportation bill is finally in place.
“It changes a lot about how things get done at the federal level,” Carr said. “However, the federal bill also signals that there aren’t going to be the amount of resources available, and the expectation of future resources is not where it has been.”
The new planning chief said the Georgia DOT is working hard to essentially keep things where they are for 2013 and 2014, presuming little growth in funds.
“What we need to do is maintain a focus on making the existing network perform as well as it can and reliably as it can and be extremely strategic about the capital investments that we make,” Carr said.
One of the strategic investments that the state will move forward with to benefit Northwest Georgia is the Northwest Georgia Corridor project, which entails the addition of a reversible traffic lane to I-75 from I-285 north of Wade Green Road and up I-575.
Carr said the message Gov. Nathan Deal heard from voters who rejected a transportation sales tax package across most of the state earlier this year was that the state had to use its existing resources to get the job done.
“It’s achievable,” Carr said. “We’ve got to really get focused.”
The planning chief, who has a lead role in determining priorities for which projects get funding across the state, said the DOT needs to leverage public-private partnerships and work closely with local officials to achieve local goals all across the state.