Ground was broken Friday on the reconstruction of the U.S. Highway 41 Bridge that provides access across the Chattahoochee River, an $18 million project more than 30 years in the making.
The reconstructed Highway 41 Bridge will have six lanes separated by a four-foot raised median, a 12-foot-wide multi-use trail on the east side and a six-foot-wide sidewalk on the west side. Construction will be completed in phases and Cobb Parkway will be open throughout that time. The project is expected to create about 100 jobs and is scheduled for completion by 2015.
“This bridge was originally constructed in 1935 and it is the original bridge,” said Malaika Rivers, Cumberland Community Improvement District’s executive director. “Although plans to reconstruct the bridge first surfaced in 1981, it wasn’t until the mid-1990s that the Cumberland CID, Cobb County and Georgia DOT began an effort to widen U.S. 41 due to continued growth in this area (…) In 2003 the effort really got kick started again when the CID began an effort to redesign a reconstructed bridge and to widen the road northbound. In 2009 the bridge was separated from the road widening portion as funds became available from the federal government in order to accomplish the construction.”
The money needed to design the project, acquire the right of way and construct the bridge totaled $18 million and came from multiple sources. Federal funds provided $16 million, the Cumberland CID provided $1.7 million and Cobb County provided $212,000.
“That’s what you call public-private partnership,” said Rep. Phil Gingrey. “On the public side a lot of areas of government working very closely together: local, county, state and federal. I think it was mentioned that from the federal side some $16 million for an $18 million project came one way or another from Washington.”
Bob Ott, Cobb County’s District 2 commissioner, told Smyrna-Vinings Patch that the bridge reconstruction was “a great example of cooperation.”
“As we continue to get the Cumberland area to try to be live, work and play this bridge has been a huge impediment. Number one because it’s old and it’s able to handle the capacity that we need. The new bridge, number one is replacing a bridge that’s 70-something years old. And also, it’s going to give us expanded capacity, it’s going to put the pedestrian component in here, which then connects both sides of the river to the trail network.”
In addition to improving the quality of life in the area, he reconstructed bridge is also expected to have a positive economic impact.
“This project will facilitate safe and fluid transit on one of the most heavily trafficked corridors in Georgia,” said Cobb County Chairman Tim Lee. “It will enhance the flow of commerce goods into and out of the state thereby providing an additional economic stimulus to the region. It will further enhance the economic viability of the Cumberland area, which represents one of the largest commercial markets in the Southeast.”