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Chris Gay: Congestion, construction and curbs in Columbia County

Posted: February 15, 2017 - 2:25am

There's no shortage of stupidity in today's world.

For instance, some folks are genuinely upset that Beyoncé lost the Grammy award for Album of the Year to Adele on Sunday night. It's hard for me to get all jazzed up over a debate of the albums of two millionaire pop stars. Besides, Prince's iconic Purple Rain album failed to win Album of the Year in 1985, despite having mega-hits in Let's Go Crazy, When Doves Cry, I Would Die For U, and Purple Rain. So please spare me any spilled Lemonade (Beyoncé's album).

But that's what folks do these days. They debate things all the time. It's exhausting.

Remember when ESPN used to be good (it's been awhile - the same goes for Saturday Night Live). ESPN is now mostly a network of non-stop talking heads. No wonder the cable network is losing millions of viewers.

Still, none of this compares to the frustrating, yet necessary, road construction taking place here in Columbia County. Because of my line of work as a sports writer, I travel a lot of these roads and notice plenty of things that should be done better. There's been talk of adding a roundabout at the William Few Parkway-Chamblin Road clogged artery since 2013. We're still waiting.

Now, there's major congestion along Washington Road, where two lanes are narrowed to one before you get to Gibbs Road (if you're headed to Greenbrier High School). To make matters worse, curbs are being installed along Washington Road - curbs have already been placed along Columbia Road with its widening project. Now my IQ ranks somewhere between Albert Einstein and Forrest Gump (much closer to Gump), but even with my Hephzibah High School education I see how dumb it is to put curbs along roads where drivers are easily going to fly faster than 45 mph.

Last year, the transmission went out in my wife's car. She could not pull off Columbia Road because of these curbs. So her car was stuck halfway in the middle of the right lane. She was scared to death another car would crash into the back of her (fortunately, nothing happened).

My wife was lucky. I'm afraid not everyone will be as fortunate. It's a given folks will have car trouble in the future. What happens when it's dark and you have a transmission issue and can't pull off the road because of these unnecessary curbs? Or what if you have a flat tire on the driver's side of the car? Are you going to risk changing it while your car is stuck in the middle of the right lane with cars whipping by you?

These curbs, I was told by the person running the Georgia Department of Transportation East Traffic Twitter feed, help with drainage. I'm sure there's some other wonderful reasons for them, too. All I see is a dangerous waste of taxpayer money.

Columbia County is not one big neighborhood like West Lake. It is a growing county where people try to drive as fast as they can to the lake or to Atlanta or to various other destinations. And we're going to have to deal with curbs? Great. That's as exciting as the rumored traffic light about to be added in front of the new Mullins development on Washington Road. Correct me if I'm wrong, but that would mean the addition of an eighth traffic light in the roughly two-mile stretch between Club Car and Ronald Reagan Drive. Awesome. More congestion. Welcome to Atlanta 3.0!

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GOOD TIME: I don't want this entire column to be about the frustrating road construction and congestion here. Instead, let's talk about something good that happened this past Friday.

The Tim Tebow Foundation sponsors the Night to Shine, which just held its third annual event. Night to Shine, a prom for special needs people ages 14 or older, featured 75,000 participants. Night to Shine was held at 375 churches throughout all 50 United States and 11 countries, and 150,000 people volunteered to help provide a night of joy to all the attendees who were crowned either a king or queen.

Locally, the event was held at TrueNorth Church in North Augusta. Guests were able to ride limousines on site, walk the red carpet and enjoy hair and makeup stations and shoe shine areas. From what I've read, these Night to Shine events brought a ton of happiness to so many people. And it's because of an athlete who decided to use his celebrity for good.

I've always hated the Florida Gators and will continue to do so in the future. But I've always liked Tim Tebow and will continue to do so in the future. It's nice to see people give back to the community, and Tebow is giving back to a segment of society that sometimes gets overlooked.

Per its Facebook page, the Tim Tebow Foundation "exists to bring faith, hope and love to those needing a brighter day in their darkest hour of need." You can read more about it at TimTebowFoundation.org.

Fund-raising is an ongoing thing with the Tim Tebow Foundation. The foundation's celebrity golf tournament and gala, which will feature people like Hillary Scott (Lady Antebellum), Chip and Joanna Gaines (Fixer Upper) and John Smoltz to name a few, will be held March 4 at TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. The event is sold out.

I hope the Tim Tebow Foundation continues to raise millions of dollars in the coming years so it can continue its good work around the globe. And hopefully, we'll continue to talk about these Night to Shine events for decades and decades to come.

 

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