Kennesaw-area road project to include I-75 underpass

An I-75 underpass will be built as part of a $26 million construction project designed to ease traffic congestion in the Town Center area near Kennesaw.

Ground will be broken on the Big Shanty Road Extension at 2 p.m. on April 13. The 2-mile road will serve as a new east-west corridor by reconnecting the old Big Shanty Road, which was divided by interstate construction in the mid-1970s.

Completion is expected in 2012. About $8 million of the $26 million is federal stimulus money, with the rest coming from the Town Center Area Community Improvement District, Cobb County and the state and federal governments.

The new road will run near some Kennesaw State University athletics fields, including an 8,300-seat soccer stadium now under construction, and will provide an alternative to the congested Chastain Road and Barrett Parkway corridors.

Other improvements will include a multi-use trail running the entire length of the project, which will extend to Chastain Road east of I-75 and George Busbee Parkway on the west side.

Four lanes of traffic will pass under the interstate. State Department of Transportation spokesman Mark McKinnon said I-75 will not have to be closed during construction of the underpass, though lanes will be shut down at times.

Lanie Shipp, executive director of the CID, said the group has lobbied 12 years for this project.

"That was one of the first things we looked at," she said. "There was no other east-west connector."

The project will have three phases: Barrett Lakes Boulevard to George Busbee Parkway, Chastain Road to Barrett Lakes Boulevard and George Busbee Parkway to Chastain Meadows Parkway.