Tal Harber, the city’s capital projects manager, said Tuesday that C.W. Matthews, the contractor for the project, provided Georgia Department of Transportation and the city a “hard (opening) date” of Nov. 16.
The 21-month-long project is aimed at relieving traffic from Towne Lake Parkway and Sixes Road and will provide a more direct route to the planned Outlet Shoppes of Atlanta. The 90-store outdoor shopping center is slated to open next summer and projected to bring more than 4 million visitors annually by Michigan-based developer Horizon Group Properties.
The $17.1 million interchange project’s final deadline is Dec. 31, according to the contract between GDOT and the Marietta-based contracting company.
Woodstock Mayor Donnie Henriques said the city was officially informed Monday the interchange may open more than a month earlier than expected.
“I’ve anticipated that we’re ahead of schedule for some time now,” Henriques said. “Everybody’s agreeing that it’s a good thing (the interchange is) opening as soon as it is.”
Reports of an early opening date came last month, when GDOT spokesman Mohamed Arafa told the Tribune the project could be completed ahead of schedule if work crews got “some more cooperation from Mother Nature.”
Henriques said he’s heard positive comments from the community about the traffic relief the interchange will bring to the surrounding area.
“Personally, I think it’s the biggest thing to happen to Woodstock in over 35 years,” Henriques said Tuesday. “Combine that with the economic engine that’s coming along, that’s going to be terrific for not just Woodstock but all of Cherokee.”
Harber said the opening date is still dependent upon weather and potential unforeseen conditions, as construction has not been completed.
“The biggest part right now is paving,” Harber said, adding that tasks still left to be completed are pouring concrete on the bridge, adding safety components, guardrails, striping and signage.
Harber said in a release the early completion of the interchange is a “noteworthy accomplishment,” as it required coordinating the construction with surrounding residences.
“We know so many people will be thrilled to have this new convenient access now available, especially in time for the holidays,” Harber said in the release.
Construction for the diamond-shaped interchange began in November 2010.
The interchange, positioned between Sixes Road and Towne Lake Parkway exits, will be marked as Exit 9.
The project list involved replacing the existing Rope Mill Road bridge over I-575, realigning Rope Mill Road to intersect with Ridgewalk Parkway, accommodating new ramps and constructing auxiliary lanes between the new interchange and Towne Lake Parkway.
A date for the ribbon cutting ceremony to celebrate the interchange has not yet been set by city officials.