River Watch Parkway Extension Project misses deadline

Homeowners grow weary as River Watch Parkway Extension Project deadline gets pushed back.

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – A major construction project in the CSRA missed its completion deadline.  Homeowners impacted by the work are growing restless, but Columbia County leaders told NewsChannel 6 this is all part of the process.

Workers in large equipment is exactly what homeowners along the former Old Petersburg Road/Old Evans Road, which is now River Watch Parkway have to see when they wake up in the morning. We spoke with some folks in charge to see just how much longer this project will take now that the deadline date has passed.

“I’ll be glad when it’s over with. There’s a lot more traffic than I thought it would be,” said Jimmy McWatty.

He has called his piece of land on the corner of the new River Watch Parkway and Lynwood Drive home for nearly 50 years. But the past three years have been a slight inconvenience, especially when it comes to mowing the lawn.

McWatty told us he has paid out as much as $500 for his riding lawn mower.

“They’ve dug up stomps and I’ve got caught in the stomps.”

McWatty is just one of the many homeowners along the Columbia County stretch of the new River Watch Parkway Extension who is faced with large orange barrels, signs, concrete and gravel decorating the front of their homes. The project started in February of 2014. Georgia Department of Transportation’s contractor, E.R. Snell estimated the deadline date of April 30th 2017. But a spokesman said the more than 35 million dollar project will likely wrap up closer to the end of this year.

Steve Cassell said Columbia County has been working to help push the project along, sharing equipment for traffic control plans and even sitting in on meetings.

“It’s a big project to our citizens and anything we can do to try to help alleviate the impact,” Cassell explained.

He said despite the frustration, delays do happen.

“Given some of the delays, utilities and the weather we’re starting to see an end in sight.”

Negotiations are still ongoing between GDOT and E.R. Snell, the main contractor for this project. GDOT’s Kyle Collins said not meeting the new deadline date will mean liquidated damages must be paid out daily by E.R. Snell.

Photojournalist: Mark Gaskins

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