A meeting is planned by late June between county officials and residents concerned about a planned future widening of Cedarcrest Road.
Residents near the northeast Paulding road recently told county officials March 28 how they felt about the planned widening of the road, which has seen a major increase in daily traffic in recent years.
One resident, Jim Hoover, said he believed most did not favor the current design for widening from two to four lanes with a grass and concrete median.
“I feel like it’s being shoved down our throats and nobody cares,” Hoover told county leaders at an open meeting March 28.
Two new roundabout intersections and an additional traffic signal are part of early plans for the 3.3-mile section between Harmony Grove Church Road and the Cobb County line.
Hoover and others said the widening will harm the residential nature of the area.
“It’s not your grandchildren that have to get from one side of Cedarcrest to the other,” Hoover said.
A $2.5 million design of the SPLOST- and state-funded project began in early 2018.
However, construction is not planned to begin until April 2023, Paulding DOT records showed.
The March 28 open meeting was billed as focusing on general county issues. County elected officials introduced themselves and top government officials described their departments’ functions and current projects.
However, after County Chairman Dave Carmichael asked for questions, most in the sometimes raucous crowd appeared to be Cedarcrest Road area residents with questions about the planned widening.
Speaker after speaker questioned the need for the widening and told about its potential negative impact on the fast-growing residential areas around the road.
Paulding DOT director George Jones, who fielded most of the questions, said the daily traffic count on the road had grown from about 800 in the late 1990s to 15,000 vehicles per day now.
“As a traffic engineer, when you look at numbers like that, you’re going to have more growth in the future,” Jones said. “People keep moving into this area.”
He predicted traffic will become more congested on the corridor if not widened to allow more volume.
“Basically, the way the traffic is going to grow, it’s needed,” he said. “I’m sorry, that’s just the way it is.”
County Operations Director Scott Greene said the county government worked with neighborhood developer Cousins Properties before neighborhoods were built. Designs included space for a four-lane Cedarcrest Road, he said.
Greene, who is former Paulding DOT director, said any plans for realignment of curves and removal of “big, heavy” trees along the corridor was a positive thing for motorists. Most fatal wrecks involve a single vehicle leaving a road and hitting a tree, he said.
Smaller trees could be planted along the road which are not as dangerous to motorists, Greene said.
“The road’s got to be rebuilt to modern standards if it’s going to be safe,” he said.
He said comments from residents at a future meeting could be incorporated into plans for landscaping and other parts of the road.
“It’s too early to say we’ve rejected anything,” he said.
Area resident Randy Gault said he wanted to “help you make it right” with a design that retains the area’s residential character.
County Commissioner Brian Stovear, whose district includes Cedarcrest, said residents and county officials “need to sit down together.”
“We want to make this the best project we can,” Stover said.
He said he planned to organize a public meeting with county road engineers within 90 days and advertise it on either the county website or neighborhood social media.