The bypass will extend from Ga. 61 north of Dallas in a loop to U.S. 278 west of Dallas. The exact locations will be decided during the design process.
The expected cost of the bypass is $54.7 million and will be completely paid for by the funds generated by the T-SPLOST — the 1 percent sales tax which is part of the Transportation Investment Act.
County Transportation Director Scott Greene said the concept for the bypass originated with the city of Dallas in 2007 in response to growing traffic and state long-term plans to widen Ga. 61 through Dallas.
The city came up with the idea for the bypass as an alternative to widening through Dallas to help preserve the integrity of the historical homes and culture of downtown Dallas.
“In order to address the long-term needs for Ga. 61, the solution around Dallas must be found,” Greene said. “It is better for this to be locally driven and occur before the door to an alternative route is closed.”
Dallas Mayor Boyd Austin said the bypass was necessary for historic preservation as well, but also necessary as an alternative route.
“First and foremost, in the event of a disaster, natural or man-made, we need an alternative northern route,” said Austin.
Austin said the high volume of traffic on Confederate Avenue was destroying the road and damaging the historic homes.
“The city is working on the plans to improve safety and reduce speeds by narrowing the traffic lanes on Confederate — making it more like a residential street than a commercial road. The commercial and pass-through traffic need an alternate route,” he said.
Austin said while it may seem like this project is far in the future, it will be done more quickly with the funds from the T-SPLOST.
“It will be built sooner and cheaper using the local funds generated by the Transportation Investment Act than it ever would on a state plan,” Austin said.
Greene said the budget for the bypass provides for a minimum of a divided two-lane highway with segments having up to three or four lanes for passing trucks.
According to Greene, constructing new roads with passing lanes is essential for economic growth in the county. Other projects on the T-SPLOST list for Paulding County include improvements to Hwy. 61; widening of Ga. Hwy. 61, Macland Road and U.S. Hwy. 278; a $2.4 million traffic control center; and funding for the Xpress Regional Commuter bus service.