Iconic student-designed bridge honors local leader, represents historic joint partnership
Through a well-coordinated partnership between Cobb County Department of Transportation (CCDOT), Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT), Kennesaw State University (KSU), and Town Center Community Improvement District (TCCID), Cobb County will officially debut its first lighted bridge, tomorrow, April 27. The 416-foot long bridge spans I-75 just north of Chastain Road in Kennesaw and is part of the Skip Spann Connector, a community improvement project that will increase access to Kennesaw State University and other local destinations, improving connectivity and visibility for the area.
Jim Wilgus, Interim Cobb County DOT stated, “Not only is this the first lighted bridge in Cobb County, this project will beautifies road sections, increases safety for pedestrians and bikers and is expected to reduce traffic congestion at the I-75 and Chastain Road interchange by nearly 20 percent.”
In addition to the lighted bridge, the Skip Spann Connector project includes four lanes of new connecting roadway and 11.5-foot-wide sidewalks, bike lanes, benches, planters and pedestrian lights on both sides of the bridge (refer to Bridge Specifications for data). It also realigns TownPark Lane and adds a roundabout at the intersection of and TownPark Lane and Busbee Drive.
The Skip Spann Connector is named for Thomas E. “Skip” Spann, founding member of the TCCID, who inspired change and growth in the county and state and served on its Board of Directors until his passing in August 2012. While paying tribute to one of Cobb County’s past leaders, the project also embraces the youth of its future. In another first for the area, the bridge was designed by the winners of a collaborative Cobb County college student competition and incorporates a standout, iconic design that reflects the local community.
Ceremony commemorates bridge namesake and historic partnership
At a ribbon-cutting and dedication ceremony held on the bridge last night, leaders from around the county and state gathered to honor Skip Spann, as well as the cooperative effort that led to the Skip Spann Connector’s success. Mason Zimmerman, Chairman of the Town Center CID, remembered the many accomplishments of Skip Spann at the event. His widow, Mrs. Ilyene Spann, flipped the switch that turned on the beautifully lit bridge, the first of its kind in the county.
“We are thrilled to officially open this bridge in Skip Spann’s honor,” said Tracy Rathbone, Executive Director, Town Center CID. “Skip’s vision, unyielding dedication and contributions helped to shape the Town Center and KSU community into what it is today and will improve the quality of life for Cobb County residents for future generations.”
The completion of the Skip Spann Connector in record time is only one indication of its success. The historic and collaborative partnership of the Town Center CID, Kennesaw State University, CDOT, GDOT and the Governor’s office made the resources for the project possible, enabling safer and less congested passage for pedestrians, cyclists and motorists.
Tim Lee, Cobb County Chairman, said, “The Skip Spann bridge is the shining result of a truly successful, proactive partnership between Cobb County DOT, KSU, GDOT, and the Town Center CID, that will give citizens better and safer access to Town Center at Cobb, KSU and other local destinations.”
Unique design created by collaborative Cobb university student effort
In 2010, Cobb County Department of Transportation hosted a bridge design competition with students from Chattahoochee Technical College (CTC), Kennesaw State University (KSU) and Southern Polytechnic State University (SPSU). Teams were comprised of a student from each school. Team 5, consisting of Donna Jones (KSU), Lewellyn Payne (CTC) and John Tufts (SPSU), won based on their unique design of a railing that reflected the iconic twin peaks of Kennesaw and Little Kennesaw Mountains. It is this iconic railing that incorporates rope lighting to beautifully light the bridge, making it visible for several miles along I-75.
Dr. Dan Papp, President, Kennesaw State University, said “KSU students will now have a safer and easier commute to classes as a result of this beautiful bridge. I am also incredibly proud of the student’s creative design contribution that showcases the iconic shape of the Kennesaw Mountains and the KSU logo.”
Funding for the Skip Spann Connector was made possible by contributions from each of the four partners: $1.5 million from the Town Center CID, $700,000 from Kennesaw State University, $5 million from CDOT and $10.6 million from GDOT.
About the TCCID
Founded in 1997, the Town Center Community Improvement District is dedicated to the betterment of the Town Center area through transportation infrastructure, safety improvements, beautification and other projects that enhance property value by increasing interest and investment in the community. The Town Center CID utilizes funds from voluntary commercial real estate taxes to implement its projects. For more information, please visit www.towncentercid.com.
About Georgia DOT
Georgia DOT plans, constructs and maintains Georgia’s state and federal highways. It is involved in bridge, waterway, public transit, rail, general aviation, bike and pedestrian programs and helps local governments maintain their roads. For more information visit http://www.dot.ga.gov or www.facebook.com/georgiaDOT.
About Cobb County DOT
The Department of Transportation (DOT) develops, manages, and operates the county’s transportation systems. Those systems include a vast network of roadways, sidewalks, and pathways; a transit system that provides public transportation services; and a general aviation airport that serves business and recreational flying needs. Working with partners in the community, DOT uses innovative technology to deliver high-impact results to the county’s residents, businesses and visitors.
About Kennesaw State University
Kennesaw State University is the third-largest university in Georgia, offering nearly 150 undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees. A member of the University System of Georgia, Kennesaw State is a comprehensive university with more than 33,000 students from over 130 countries. In January 2015, Kennesaw State and Southern Polytechnic State University consolidated to create one of the 50 largest public universities in the country. For more information visit http://kennesaw.edu.