As upgrades to the Lewiston Road and Interstate 20 interchange move forward later this summer, a year-old effort to add an exit near Grovetown might be stuck in park.
One year ago, Columbia County Commission asked the Georgia Department of Transportation and the Federal Highway Administration to commission a study for a new interchange at I-20 and Louisville Road. Commissioners argued the new exit would reduce traffic at other I-20 interchanges by providing an additional access point to the interstate.
Scott Herring, the county's director of Construction and Maintenance, said a $100,000 study is still under way, but preliminary findings released to the county indicate a new exit might not be necessary at this time.
"The way the Federal Highway Administration looks at it, if you can make improvements, cost effective improvements at adjacent interchanges that would handle the projected increase in traffic, then you don't need a new interchange," Herring said.
Though county growth projections indicate a new interchange might be necessary in the future, Herring said federal highway studies look at existing conditions. Results from the completed study will be released to the county in 60 to 90 days, he said.
Plans are moving ahead, however, for upgrades at the Lewiston Road exit. Cissy McNure, a DOT spokeswoman, said bidding will be opened this summer for a project to replace the bridge over I-20.
The estimated $7.4 million project will replace the current two-lane bridge with a three-lane bridge providing single lanes for north and southbound traffic and a center turn lane.
The state is currently purchasing right of way for the project. After a bidder is awarded the contract this summer, construction could begin in as few as six weeks later, McNure said. Construction is expected to take about two years, she said.
The area near the interchange has received a lot of attention recently from county leaders who view the area as a prime location for substantial development and a possible entertainment arena.
The Columbia County News-Times ©2013. All Rights Reserved.