Columbus road projects to continue, some indefinitely - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Columbus road projects to continue, some indefinitely

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COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) -

With summer approaching soon, more people will soon be on the road. And in Columbus, there will be on-going road projects that drivers should look out for to stay safe while traveling through town. 

First, not all projects will extend through the summer months. The Schatulga roundabout project was finished on May 5, 2014. The project took six to eight months, according to the planning director Rick Jones.

"We are eager to see how well this change will work," Jones said. "We established roundabouts in Warm Springs, Blackmon, down in the Lake Bottom Park area. We are planning on establishing one in the St. Mary's area as well as South Lumpkin."

Jones said it's safe to assume that more roundabouts will be made throughout the city.

"I think this is the way our future is heading towards," Jones said. "It saves us money, it saves citizens money, and it reduces number of accidents, especially right angle accidents at the intersections."

On the north side of the city, the construction work to enlarge Whittlesey Blvd. is not yet complete.

"That has been an on-going project for the last couple of years," Jones said. "It took longer for the actual design and engineering to come together. That's been a good 15 year project in making. But the actual construction kicked off about two years ago. It's going to be four lane with divided grass median. We are about 50 percent done with the project. Hopefully, we will be able to ride on that road this time next year."

Jones said it takes about seven years on average to start and finish a road project.

"It's not an over night thing, and it might take years," Jones said. "However, we have to make sure that the roads are save, passable and useable. Often times, we also have to determine funding, come up with the engineering plan and the right of way has to be required. There are many requirements we have to meet to complete a road project."

The access road on JR Allen Pkwy off of Bradley Park Dr. will also remain closed for an indefinite amount of time.

"We've had fatalities in that intersection, unfortunately," Jones said. "We are now re-thinking about it. For now, the drivers will have to make a left turn at the next ramp in order to merge into traffic. It's safer that way. We are doing some test runs on it. Maybe there might be a need for that intersection to be signalized for protected left turns. The truth is, we are still looking and discussing this issue."

Two more key projects will be starting soon, and Jones said he wants the public to join in.

"We will be discussing the existing routes, and potential routes for the bus services we offer in Columbus," Jones said. "We will be holding this meeting on May 8, 2014 at the Government Center Annex building from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. This is one of our Transportation Special Purpose Local Options Sale Tax we did back in 2012, and we are now trying to bring to the forefront in terms of making it happen."

Another meeting will be on May 12, 2014 at Brewer Elementary School from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.

"We will talk about what folks here are calling a spider web," Jones said. "Where Buena Vista, Saint Mary's, Andrews and Brennan come together. This road has been a bother, especially when a train comes through."

Jones said the city will proceed with these two key projects after they listen to the public's opinions about them.

"We are at the stage right now where funding is available," Jones said. "The transit project will be kicking off immediately as soon as we get a good understanding about where we need to go with that. We will start putting the spider web project into the engineering plan once we get ideas and comments from the public."

For more information on current road projects and scheduled public meetings, visit the planning department's website at http://www.columbusga.org/planning/

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