Columbia County's plan to create a center turn lane on Washington Road near Wal-Mart will not interfere with the state's plans to widen the road and divide it with a center median, officials say.
A center turn lane is planned for Washington Road from Ronald Reagan Drive to Fieldstone Way in Evans. The state has given final approval to the plan.
Photo by Jim Blaylock
"The state has indicated they will allow us to keep the center turn lane to the place where we're putting it right now past Fieldstone Way," said Kevin Lear, Columbia County construction and maintenance director.
The new turn lane will be completed in two phases during the next two weeks and will stretch from just west of Fieldstone Way east to Ronald Reagan Drive.
This week, crews from Beam's Contracting Inc., of Beech Island, S.C., will begin the first phase to create a center turn lane from the Wal-Mart traffic light west to just beyond Fieldstone Way, Lear said.
Beam's Contracting Field Superintendent David McGhee said the widening of Washington Road is complete and his crew is ready to begin.
Construction of deceleration turn lanes and storm drains is complete at Fieldstone Way and Country Place Lane, and rights-of-way issues have been settled, making last week's progress possible, Lear said.
Weather permitting, crews were expected to mill the old asphalt before laying fresh asphalt, then re-stripe the road, McGhee said.
This week, weather permitting, work will begin on the second phase of the turn lane, from the Wal-Mart intersection east to Ronald Reagan Drive, Lear said.
That work will be more complicated because there is a half-inch difference in elevation between the existing asphalt and the newly poured concrete curbs, he said.
Workers also will have to mill the asphalt down before replacing it with a new finished layer of asphalt and re-striping the road, Lear said.
The state Department of Transportation plans to widen Washington Road to four lanes west of Evans to Lake Cumberland Drive, Lear said.
As part of that plan, the state decided to insert a median between east and westbound lanes. That median will begin west of Fieldstone Way.
Beam's Contracting was awarded the center lane contract by the County Commission March 29 with a low bid of $566,686, according to meeting transcripts. The project is being paid for with special purpose sales tax funds. With allowances for conditions, the contractor has 30 days to finish.
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