For months, the Interstate 20-Lewiston Road interchange has required drivers to weave through a combination of heavy equipment, construction barrels and dust.
But state transportation officials opened the new bridge Thursday, so the old one can be removed.
Construction is expected to be complete in the spring, state DOT spokeswoman Cissy McNure said.
Conyers, Ga.-based Pittman Construction Co. started work in November on the $9.1 million project to replace the bridge and widen the entrance and exit ramps to I-20 at Lewiston Road, McNure said.
By the end of June, McNure said, the project was nearly half-complete and is expected to be finished by the end of April.
Grovetown officials and motorists have long complained that the interchange is dangerous and congested. Drivers turning left onto Lewiston Road from the east- and westbound I-20 exits must deal with limited sight distances and heavy daytime traffic.
Motorists turning left from Lewiston Road onto both directions of I-20 often cause traffic backups because of the lack of turn lanes.
McNure said the project will include widening the bridge over I-20 to include two through lanes and left-turn lanes and traffic signals for both exit ramps.
Interchange improvements also will include the installation of a video-detection system to keep traffic moving smoothly.
The cameras won't be there for law enforcement, McNure said. "The video detection is just to regulate traffic."
Columbia County officials have identified property around the interchange as a commercial area that will include the county's third Wal-Mart, which is still in the planning stages.
The bridge widening also will more easily accommodate heavy commercial traffic to nearby Horizon North and South industrial parks.
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