Relief for some of Columbia County's clogged arteries is on the way.
Work is completed, nearing completion or set to begin on several road construction projects in the Evans area, county officials say.
Road crews recently completed construction at the intersection of Washington and Hardy McManus roads, Columbia County pre-construction engineer Ronnie Hutto said.
The $450,000 project added turn and deceleration lanes to both roads, which should improve traffic flow, he said.
"That will stop the rear-end collisions and allow the traffic to continue on both sides (of Washington Road)," he said.
Other road projects also are on the move:
- Work is progressing on the new Belair Connector, where county officials and Beech Island-based contractor Construction Perfected Inc. await Georgia Department of Transportation approval of plans to link the new thoroughfare with North Belair Road and Industrial Park Drive.
The $1.5 million road will provide motorists a straighter shot from Belair Road south of Washington Road to North Belair Road.
Brandon Cooper, of Construction Perfected, said his firm awaits DOT approval to level the road to meet North Belair Road and Industrial Park Drive, lay the final topping of asphalt, stripe the road and switch on the traffic lights. He estimated the road could be completed by October.
"It's going to be nice once it's finished," he said.
- Intersection upgrades at Halali Farm and Washington roads are set to begin within the next two weeks, Hutto said. The project, which Hutto said is a joint effort between the county and DOT, will shift the 250-foot deceleration lane on westbound Washington Road 12 feet to the north and improve the line of sight, which will make the intersection safer, he said.
He said he did not have a scheduled completion date.
- Work is nearly completed on a large portion of General Woods Pass, a new thoroughfare linking Washington Road and the Greenbrier school complex, said Robertson Grading Co. owner Lewis Robertson.
The only remaining hurdle to completion is DOT approval of its Washington Road intersection design, said Wayne Millar, the developer of Riverwood Plantation, which is funding the new road.
Millar said construction of the intersection would take about 30 days, but plans must be approved before work can begin and he did not know when his group would receive approval.
Officials have said the road will bring needed relief to existing heavy school traffic. The road will also serve seven new subdivisions, consisting of about 230 homes under construction in the area, Millar said.
- The extension to William Few Parkway, another project intended to alleviate heavy Greenbrier school traffic, is still in the design phase, Hutto said.
Matt Schlachter, a county construction project manager, said a proposed bridge will have to be lengthened beyond the previously anticipated 561-foot span to avoid a pond and a creek along its intended path to connect with Hardy McManus Road.
"The less impact with the wetlands we have, the better off we are," he said.
Approval of the plans must be made by the state DOT and the Federal Highway Administration, Hutto said.
During Thursday's Columbia County Planning Commission meeting, planning director Jeff Browning said a tentative schedule was discussed in a county meeting in which plans for the project could be approved by April next year, with construction to follow after right-of-way acquisition occurs, possibly in June.
- The county has resolved right-of-way issues with CSX Transportation for a center-turn lane on Washington Road at Goodwill Industries, Hutto said. He said the project, expected to cost more than $1 million, will be opened for bidding after funding is in place, but could not give a specific time frame.
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