C.W. Matthews is removing trees and performing grading on the southbound side of the interstate between the Rope Mill Road Bridge and the Towne Lake Parkway exit to prepare for the construction of entrance ramps onto the interstate.
The Georgia Department of Transportation awarded the Marietta-based company a $17-million contract last spring to build the new interchange by the end of 2012.
The bulk of the interchange will be funded with state and federal dollars. The city used bonds to acquire right-of-way for the project.
The diamond-shaped interchange project involves replacing the existing Rope Mill Road bridge over I-575, realigning Rope Mill Road to intersect with Ridgewalk Parkway and accommodate the new ramps and building auxiliary lanes between the new interchange and Towne Lake Parkway.
The company has also already cleared land to realign a portion of Rope Mill Road to the east to intersect with Woodstock Parkway, said Tyler Lumsden, construction project engineer with GDOT. The road will move about 400 feet to the east.
Aligning the road, he said, will also make room for the construction of northbound entrance ramps onto the interstate.
The next phase of the project will be installing sound barriers on the southbound side of the interstate to protect Deer Run residents from noise.
The sound barrier is something Deer Run residents are happy to see built, said Woodstock City Councilwoman Tessa Basford, who lives in the neighborhood.
Ms. Basford, a member of the Deer Run homeowners association's board of directors, said the community is fully supportive of the construction.
The city government, she said, will continue to update residents of progress on the project. She commended the city's special projects manager, Tal Harber, for keeping Deer Run and Brookshire residents informed of the developments.
"They've done a really good job of communicating," she said.
Mohamed Arafa, communications specialists with GDOT, said C.W. Matthews isn't operating on a set time frame. The only stipulation it has is to have the project completed no later than Dec. 31, 2012.
The Woodstock city government has lobbied over the past two decades for the construction of the interchange, which officials across the county contend would bring traffic relief to Towne Lake Parkway and Sixes Road.
The project's initiation has brought a sigh of relief to Woodstock officials.
Mayor Donnie Henriques said city officials are as "happy as pigs in a blanket" to see the dirt finally turned.
Along with benefits to city residents, county residents, such as those who live in Bradshaw Farm, also would see less congestion and shorter commutes.
"People won't realize how important this thing is until it's in the ground and people are using it," she said.