Residents upset about Talbotton Road extension plan

By Taylor Barnhill  - bio | email | Twitter

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - The city of Columbus is working on a plan to expand Talbotton Road. The price tag is about $40 million dollars, but many residents in the area don't want it.

It's a very busy intersection in the city -- where Talbotton Road turns into Warm Springs Road -- but the Georgia Department of Transportation thinks it has a solution to the problem, and it comes in the form of a road expansion for a two mile stretch.

Dr. Darcy Leerssen is a business owner in the area and told News Leader Nine, "We want a new road, we'd love a new road, we need a new road just not this exaggeration."

That exaggeration is a multi-million dollar expansion to Talbotton Road.

"They want to spend $42 million for a roadway nobody wants. Nobody believes it needs to be that wide and it will also be unsafe for kids at Hannan Elementary," Leerssen said.

Rick Jones with the city's planning department says it has most of those issues worked out in the widening proposal, "The four-lane had been proposed with a concrete median but now we're looking to do landscape with grass to soften the impact of the road."

The Georgia Department of Transportation has been working for nearly twenty years to get this project underway.

"Patience is a virtue here, but we have to move forward at the same time and make sure these projects become a reality," Jones explained.

But a group of concerned citizens wants the city to reconsider the proposed plan because it could destroy the homes and businesses in the area. Leerssen is acting as their spokesperson and said, "I'm hoping GDOT will consider scaling down to a three lane with a center turn lane."

But Jones added, "We're probably 60 to 90 days max before they start buying right of way, so no... That's not an option."

The group of concerned citizens is appearing before Columbus City Council to bring up their concerns, and they hope council members will support a resolution to redevelop the road widening plan.

UPDATE: Citizens and business owners brought concerns to Columbus council about the proposed 4-lane widening project to Tuesday night's meeting.

So, Columbus' mayor and council members agreed to set up a meeting with Georgia DOT officials, allowing citizen's input to be heard on the issue.

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