AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – Preparation for major work on Interstate 20 could cause slower traffic and delays for drivers. Despite this work, there are not any official detours for the I-20 work.
Dustin Thomas, of North Augusta, is one of those impacted by the work.
“I actually have to go to school at USC Aiken and I usually get stopped at the bridge and am typically late for class,” he explained to NewsChannel 6.
As he gases up on the Washington Road exit near work, Thomas is contemplating his route home.
“I usually go down the 13th Street Bridge usually or I come up and go across the Fury’s Ferry Bridge over in Evans to get away from some of the traffic because it’s just difficult to get around all that,” he said.
Anything to avoid that dreadful I-20 backlog. Traffic is already slowed during Georgia DOT’s environmental sampling to prepare for bridge replacement and lane widening work.
Kyle Collins, GDOT District Communications Specialist, told us the following is expected:
The proposed replacement bridges will each provide three travel lanes in each direction, as well as a refuge area for vehicles. I-20 will be widened from four to six lanes from River Watch Parkway (Exit 200) in Georgia to West Martintown Road (Exit 1) in South Carolina, then transition back to four lanes on the South Carolina side of the Savannah River.
“Basically eastbound this week and then we’re going to flip and go westbound in he coming weeks. The majority of the work is on the westbound side, some in South Carolina and a little bit in Georgia too,” Collins said.
So what’s a driver to do? Well, we hit the road on the first detour option for crossing the state line, the Bobby Jones Expressway. From I-20 to Graniteville it took about 15 minutes driving the speed limit. The other option is the 13th Street Bridge and crossing into the Palmetto State through North Augusta. That’s Thomas’ route. But 18 wheeler trucks probably can’t go through city streets.
Collins added, “Heed the message board when it tells you to merge a mile ahead. Go ahead and do it. Slow down. A lot of the congestion occurs when people try to race to the end. Then you have to let your friend in and the next person and the next person. Next thing you know it’s backed up a mile or two.”
GDOT expects to have a public meeting by this summer with plans to how the work will look when completed.
You will need to know what your options are because this work will continue through mid-May. And that’s just the beginning. Work is scheduled to start in late 2018 or early 2019.
Photojournalist: Mark Gaskins