A roadway 20 years in the making finally opened at 11 a.m. today amidst fanfare from a host of groups.
Ribbon-cutting for the $51 million Windy Hill Road extension was held next to on Callaway Road in Marietta with nearby residents and Cobb County employees in attendance. C.W. Matthews Contracting of Marietta was awarded the $27 million construction contract back in October 2008 -- it is the largest project ever let by the
Faye DiMassimo, director of the Cobb DOT, said the concept for a road connecting Windy Hill to Macland Road originated 20 years ago. This should facilitate east-west connections from Paulding County to Interstate 75, she said. Originally a two-lane project, it was changed to a four-lane roadway after evaluating five alternates and holding nine public hearings.
Just over two miles in length, the section is a median divided, limited- access road which has three bridges within it. Construction included building nine retaining walls and moving more than 300,000 cubic yards of dirt.
Cobb Commissioner Woody Thompson, whose District 4 includes the area with the new connector, said he is personally looking forward to a "smooth ride all the way in" and said he's glad it was paid for in cash and incurred no debt, thanks to the 2005 SPLOST.
DiMassimo said traffic studies predict that the number of cars using the connector roadway will reach 27,000 vehicles per day by 2032. Dubbed the Windy-Mac Connector, the four-lane divided highway runs 2.1 miles from Macland Road at Powder Springs Road to Windy Hill Road at Austell Road. The speed limit will be 45 miles per hour. It passes under Callaway Road, with no access at that location.
The project was funded through Cobb's 2005 SPLOST tax (Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax) and the $51 million budget includes engineering, construction, utilities and right-of-way acquisition. Some of the residents who were relocated in order to build the road were also in attendance at today's festivities.