Update on Columbia County road projects

COLUMBIA COUNTY, Ga. (WJBF)– It’s been going on for nearly two years and bringing the people of Columbia County daily frustrations. The widening of Washington Road along with some other road projects– many are asking– will it ever finish?

“It’s sort of the perfect storm for traffic operations right now. They’ve got more money available, so they’re doing about ten years worth of maintenance in a year,” Steve Cassell, Columbia County’s Engineering Director explained.

Columbia County has partnered with the state to tackle much needed road work. Originally, the state was heading it all up, but that meant work wouldn’t start until 2035.

Thanks to SPLOST funds, the county intervened to speed it all up– specifically widening Washington Road.

Cassell said road work is shifting a lot traffic onto smaller, less used roads within the county, like Fury’s Ferry and Lewiston Roads. He said more people should take advantage of the app called “Georgia 511.” It has an interactive map that shows the best routes depending on traffic.

Cassell explained there are several factors that go into these projects, and many people who travel these roads don’t realize it.

“The weather has been frustrating. It’s messed with our schedule, Riverwatch schedule, I-20 schedule. That’s always one of the big problems when you’re dealing with it,” Cassell said.

Working through the night, some say, would alleviate a lot of the congestion. Cassell explained why that idea isn’t realistic:”You need light, first of all, and it’s an expense. Typically if you work at night, you can’t work during the day, so it’s not necessarily speeding the project up as much as just removing frustrations.”

Engineers said they are alleviating frustration as much as possible– they have added traffic lights and turn lanes on several roads.

“It’s just, I think, people are frustrated, and I don’t blame them. We’ve got some bottle necks out there that need to be addressed, and we’re working on it,” Cassell concluded.

After Washington Rd. is complete, Cassell said Flowing Wells, Lewiston and Furys Ferry Roads will undergo construction in 2018.

And as a reminder– While you are travelling on these roads, make sure you are aware of the workers and their safety.

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