It’s finally happening... soon.
Officials say the plan for widening a three-mile section of Washington Road in Evans will start in the spring.
Ronnie Hutto, the pre- construction engineer for Columbia County, said the project, which is budgeted at $24.6 million, is being paid for by one-cent sales tax funds. He said it could take up to three years to complete.
“The project is going to start at Gibbs Road and continue until William Few Parkway,” Hutto said. “The project consists of a new five-lane highway, which consists of four travel lanes and a new left turn lane in the median.”
Hutto said left-turn lanes will be added at various intersections. A bridge will be added in addition to bicycle lanes on both sides and all of the existing travel signals will remain in place.
The process of preparing all of the bid documents for the project is still a work in progress, so no date has been set for work to begin, Hutto said.
Steve Exley, the county’s engineering manager, said he knows people are eager for the project to start.
“It’s been a long time in the making, and you know we’ve gone through a lot of revisions and a lot of permitting a lot of regulatory approvals that we’ve had to get so its been a very challenging project, but I will say that’s it is going to really transform that entire road corridor … and it’s going to take care of a lot of the issues that we’re having,” Exley said.
The only frustration about the project, Exley said, will be the frequent starts and stops of the work on different sections, making the process slow, but once complete, the result will be reduced travel time.
“The biggest benefit will be moving traffic so people will not have to suffer in their vehicles on a daily basis and so that’s just going to improve the quality of life for a lot of the commuters,” Exley said.