Hill Road project expected to be 'substantially complete' by Aug. 1

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Jun. 1—Expect some delays on Hill Road during the next several weeks as a contractor continues a major upgrade to the Whitfield County road.

"We are working the project from Wagner Drive going north," said County Engineer Kent Benson. "We are adjusting the grade of the road to take out sharp hills and improve visibility. We are also replacing old, undersized drainage pipes to improve the drainage along and adjacent to Hill Road. There is new curb, gutter and sidewalk on both sides of the road. Overall safety of the road and side street intersections will be greatly improved."

Benson said he expects the final paving will be done in July and the project should "be substantially complete by Aug. 1."

The project is being completed with $2.8 million the county had left after completing all of its projects under the 2007 Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST). That was a a three-year transportation SPLOST that raised a little more than $51 million before expiring at the end of 2010.

Among the 30 projects it funded were the widening of Airport Road from Walnut Avenue to the south bypass; the extension of Veterans Drive to Morris Street; the extension of Brooker Drive; moving the intersection of College Drive and Tony Ingle Parkway; and dozens of more minor improvements to streets and roads across Dalton and Whitfield County.

County officials said it took so long to start this project because they had to wait for all of the other projects to be completed and the books closed on them to know how much money they had left, and then they had to do the engineering and design and bid the project out.

Bartow Paving of Cartersville is doing the work.

Two schools, several businesses and numerous homes are on or just off Hill Road as are the county Public Works Department and Animal Shelter and a Parks and Recreation Department gym.

"There's a lot going on on that road," said Juan Salaices, who said he works in the area and drives the road almost daily. "The visibility when you are driving can be limited (because of the hills). I'm glad they are improving it."