published Thursday, October 27th, 2011

Whitfield County reviews road plans

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DALTON, Ga. — As Whitfield County considers what road work to complete over the next 20 years, the two projects that provide the best benefits compared to their cost would need to be coordinated with other counties, a consultant told members of the Greater Dalton Metropolitan Planning Organization.

Bill Ruhsam of Moreland Altebelli Associates presented the northern Whitfield County corridor study findings at a meeting Wednesday morning. The study identified more than a dozen road projects costing about $70 million, which the study divided into short-, medium- and long-term plans.

Widening U.S. Highway 41 from two lanes to four lanes to the Catoosa County line and doing the same to state Highway 71 to the Tennessee line would add capacity and prevent congestion, Ruhsam said.

"They will do everyone a lot of good, but we've put them on the long-term list, because until Tennessee and Catoosa County get involved, it's not going to do a lot of good," Ruhsam said.

County Commission Chairman Mike Babb said the county is working with Chattanooga and Bradley County to coordinate long-term goals.

State Highway 71 is used by truckers and would provide an alternate route to Interstate 75 northeast of Chattanooga, he said. The project is also on a list that would be funded if voters pass the regional transportation tax in July.

Babb said he has not spoken with Catoosa County officials about U.S. 41.

The study identified four short-term projects including improving shoulders, adding striping and reworking an intersection on state Highway 201 and making the shoulders on U.S. 41 more bike-friendly by reworking the rumble strip on the shoulders.

During the meeting, County Engineer Kent Benson provided an update on current road projects, including repaving and intersection improvements.

Plans to put a roundabout at the intersection of College Drive and North Tibbs Road are about half completed, Benson said.

He said officials hope to begin building the roundabout in spring 2013.

County officials hope to pay for the project with a federal grant, he said.

about Mariann Martin...

Mariann Martin covers healthcare in Chattanooga and the surrounding region. She joined the Times Free Press in February 2011, after covering crime and courts for the Jackson (Tenn.) Sun for two years. Mariann was born in Indiana, but grew up in Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Belize. She graduated from Union University in 2005 with degrees in English and history and has master’s degrees in international relations and history from the University of Toronto. While attending Union, ...

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