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DOT condemning Evans land for River Watch extension

Posted: May 29, 2012 - 11:10pm  |  Updated: May 30, 2012 - 11:16am

Twitter @DonnieFetter

Though years away from the start of construction, Georgia transportation officials continue acquiring land for a planned extension of River Watch Parkway into Evans.

The state Department of Transportation recently started running advertisements in The Columbia County News-Times to announce the condemnation of 0.089 of an acre along Towne Center Drive next to the Publix shopping center.

DOT spokeswoman Cissy McNure confirmed that the land acquisition relates to the River Watch Parkway extension.

With this condemnation, McNure said in an email, DOT will have 95 percent of the needed parcels to start the project, though construction won’t begin until at least 2016.

The project extends River Watch Parkway from Baston Road, up Old Petersburg Road past Washington Road up Town Center Drive. The road will include four lanes with a 20-foot median.

The cost to extend the parkway might reach $25 million, according to McNure’s email.

Columbia County officials are asking voters to earmark $20 million for
the project as part of a $621 million Transportation SPLOST package to be included on the July 31 Primary ballot.

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Little Lamb


Okay, this 0.089-acre acquisition (through eminent domain) will bring the DOT to 95% of their needed property and easement to do the Riverwatch extension. Good. But acquiring the last 5% will take longer and cost more than those who settled early and cheaply.

I think it would be a good News-Times article for Donnie Fetter to publish a map showing what and where the missing parcels are to finish this road project. Even the fair market value would be public record, and thus available to the reporter. We could all turn into land speculators.

One of the benefits of this project will be the cleaning up of the clumsy configuration and rush hour backups at the Old Petersburg and Old Evans confluence. I wish they would start there and I wish it would be much sooner than 2016.