Traffic has been a big problem in Grovetown for years.
Finally, major improvements are on the way.
The highly-debated and recently-passed Transportation Investment Act, often referred to as T-SPLOST, is slated to provide $11 million in improvements to the city’s two major thoroughfares.
“We’re very fortunate (residents) passed that here,” Public Works Director Michael Woods said.
Mayor George James said voters in the Grovetown precincts passed the T-SPLOST.
“We needed it,” James said. “We needed it bad.”
Traffic, mainly associated with Fort Gordon, clogs Robinson Avenue and Wrightsboro Road during morning and afternoon rush hour. Woods said traffic from Fort Gordon’s Gate 2 often backs up from Gordon Highway to Wrightsboro Road.
Improving state highways requires approval from the state Department of Transportation.
“The state governs and controls their highways,” James said. “In essence, you can’t even take a piece of chalk and write on it unless they tell you you can. They control their roads.”
City officials have been pleading with DOT officials to improve the roads for many years. Finally, state transportation officials included the projects on the T-SPLOST list.
“I think they see how big a problem it is down through there,” Woods said.
City Council members recently approved hiring a traffic engineer to examine Robinson Avenue and Wrightsboro Road. That engineer will include city leaders’ design ideas and the Urban Redevelopment Plan to update the historic areas of the city into improvement plans for the road.
“DOT, they are wanting us to tell them what we want,” James said. “They are encouraging us to come up with our design as to what we would want.”
James said he’s been told to expect construction to begin on those two main corridors in about three years.
James said residents expressed concerns about turning Robinson Avenue into a four-lane highway through town.
“They think we’re going to four-lane it or something like that,” James said. “That’s not going to happen.”
The plan is to widen the road in a few areas to make room for turn lanes, allowing drivers on side streets to get onto Robinson Avenue, and other traffic control improvements that will move traffic along and improve the flow of traffic.
The $150,000 a year in discretionary funds the city is expected to receive from the T-SPLOST will help improve city streets.
“We can use it where we want to (inside) the city limits on any of our roads” Woods said. “That’s going to be a lot of resurfacing.”
But T-SPLOST projects aren’t the only ones on the books. DOT also is planning to improve the city’s two main intersections – Wrightsboro Road at Katherine Street and Robinson Avenue. The projects likely will include medians or islands and signs to help improve traffic flow.
Those projects are DOT-funded and are expected to begin any day, James said.
The city also is adding a traffic signal on Wrightsboro Road at Whiskey Road to better manage traffic associated with new businesses there. That project is expected to be complete in about six months.