Columbia County officials went from ribbon-cutting to groundbreaking Thursday as they opened a new bike path and the immediately went to work on the next section of the project.
A group of Stevens Creek Elementary School students helped District 1 County Commissioner Frank Spears and other officials open the new Evans-to-Locks Road Multi-Use Path, marking the completion of the first phase of the $455,000 project.
Paid for mostly with state Department of Transportation funds that must be used for transportation projects other than streets and highways, the bike path extends 2.7 miles from Stevens Creek Elementary to Savannah Rapids Pavilion.
After a ribbon-cutting to open the first section, a group of first-graders wielded golden shovels supplied by the Columbia County Chamber of Commerce to ceremonially start Phase II of the project.
The new section, with construction scheduled to begin in December, will cost $169,000 and extend the path 1.3 miles to Blue Ridge Drive. The $169,000 cost of the next section will come from 1-cent sales tax funds in a discretionary account set aside for Spears' district.
The final section of the bike path, Spears said, will take the path from Blue Ridge Drive to the Evans government complex, a 2.1-mile stretch that currently is under study, and a cost has not been determined.
When the full route eventually is completed, Spears said, "You can get on your bicycle in downtown Evans and ride all the way to Augusta.
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