Hooray for the DOT!
That isn't something you'll hear very often around here, especially with all the frustration motorists have experienced lately. Furys Ferry Road has been a long-drawn-out nightmare for motorists, and Washington Road has been a gantlet of orange barrels.
But the Georgia Department of Transportation earns hearty applause for a couple of recent actions:
First, the DOT board met in Columbia County.
Even if nothing happened but idle chit-chat, the Oct. 20 meeting represents a milestone. The board rarely sets foot outside of its mammoth downtown Atlanta headquarters, and coming to Savannah Rapids Pavilion was remarkable. Local board member Bill Kulhke deserves credit for bringing the other board members and Commissioner Harold Linnenkohl out to the hinterlands.
It's even better, then, that not only did the board meet here, but that Linnenkohl brought some great news with him.
Tops on the list is the DOT's decision to extend the Washington Road center-turn lane all the way out to Gibbs Road, where a realignment and traffic-signal project is underway.
This is outstanding news, especially for businesses along the Washington Road corridor in Evans. The DOT had long insisted on dividing the road with a raised concrete median that would have given marginal safety improvement at the expense of access to those businesses; this change of heart is great news.
Not only that, but when the DOT widens Washington Road and adds its raised median west of Gibbs, the project will now extend another mile further - all the way past the soon-to-be-constructed Pollard's Pass that will provide additional access for the Greenbrier schools.
"It's going to be a little bit of extra time and a little bit of extra funds, but we feel like it can be done," Linnenkohl told the board - bringing a hearty cheer from Columbia County Commission Chairman Ron Cross.
"I can hardly express how I feel," Cross said. "This is the culmination of a lot of work on the part of the county, the legislative delegation and a very cooperative spirit with the DOT."
In addition to this traffic-relieving news, Linnenkohl also told board members that the DOT is speeding up the massive reworking of the Bobby Jones Expressway-Interstate 20 exchange. This project, along with the Davis Road widening, will have tremendous impact on Columbia County businesses and traffic; accelerating the project is a bonus.
Needless to say, if the state board is going to bring gifts like these, Columbia County will have to invite them to town more often!
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