published Friday, November 16th, 2012

Cloud Springs Road part to be repaved

Bhawnesh Arora is manager of the Sunset Market Shell station on Cloud Springs Road in Catoosa County, Ga.

He saw how road improvement work on Fort Town Drive hurt business a few miles away at the Sunset Market Hi-Tech near Battlefield Parkway.

"Even after the [road work's] completion, it's not the same business," Arora said of his nearby sister station. "It has come back 30, 40 percent."

So Arora was not thrilled to hear that the Georgia Department of Transportation plans to spend $404,000 to resurface two miles of Cloud Springs Road -- also known as state Route 146.

The state agency on Nov. 2 awarded the road work contract to low bidder Northwest Georgia Paving Inc. in Calhoun, Ga. An employee there didn't return calls seeking comment about when the work might start.

But GDOT spokesman Mohamed Arafa said the agency would let drivers know at least a week in advance of any construction-related delays. Resurfacing has to be finished by Sept. 30, 2013, he said.

The state is resurfacing the road simply because it needs it, Arafa said.

"It's time to resurface it to preserve the integrity of the roadway and make it safer," he said.

A smattering of Arora's customers expressed varying opinions Thursday about the resurfacing.

"That's crazy," said Crystal Trull, a Signal Mountain woman whose mother lives off Cloud Springs. "It's smooth enough. You don't get jarred when you drive on it."

Micki Rogers lives on Cloud Springs Road and drives the stretch that's going to be resurfaced on her way to work as a medical assistant at a foot clinic.

"There's potholes and things like that," Rogers said. "I wish they would widen it. Sometimes, it takes me 10 minutes to get out of my driveway. If you have to turn off anywhere, traffic just backs up [behind you]."

The resurfacing will be between U.S. 27, or LaFayette Road, and just east of Westside Country Drive. Only resurfacing -- no widening -- will take place, Arafa said.

GDOT recently widened 2.4 miles of the road from Interstate 75 to Red Bud Avenue at a cost of $24 million. Eighty percent of the funding was federal and 20 percent was state.

Federal and state dollars will pay for the resurfacing project, Arafa said, though he didn't know the percentage of each.

The recently widened stretch of Cloud Springs Road is home to a Costco Wholesale store.

Lake Winnepesaukah Amusement Park, which plans to open a five-acre water park next summer, seeks state highway signs to route I-75 drivers to the Cloud Springs Road exit and not Ringgold Road in East Ridge,.

about Tim Omarzu...

Tim Omarzu covers education for the Times Free Press. Omarzu is a longtime journalist who has worked as a reporter and editor at daily and weekly newspapers in Michigan, Nevada and California.

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