News 12 11pm / Monday, June 9, 2014
COLUMBIA COUNTY, Ga. (WRDW) -- Riding a bike on a busy road can be dangerous, but a new road project will help cut some of the risk.
By the time all the work is done, Old Petersburg Road will have four lanes with medians, sidewalks, and bike lanes.
News 12 talked to bike riders and homeowners along the River Watch Extension Project. It will take another three years before the project is done, but people living in the area are already getting excited about what it means for them.
Riding a bike can be fun, but it's also risky on busy roads.
"Cars don't mix with bikes too well," Dennis Lam told News 12 as he geared up for his 26 mile ride.
Lam rides with a group every week around Augusta, but they don't take any chances on Old Petersburg Road, which is closer to his Columbia County home.
"Right now, if you drive down that road, there's no shoulder. There's nothing there. You ride off onto the ditches. So, the bike lanes will give us a little more safety for bikes and for cars," he said right before he hit the bike pedal.
It will cost more than just the 30 million dollars the DOT will pay to finish the project that will also bring four car lanes, medians, and sidewalks. It's costing homeowners like Becky Goodbee their yards.
"The loss of about 11 trees. We are already having significant noise impact that's going to increase over the next several months, but I'm hoping that in the end it will be worth it," she said as she looked at what's left of her yard.
Columbia County's Director of Engineering says the work on River Watch will be worth it for drivers and riders.
"For areas around us it's going to open up traffic flows. Washington Road is the main way to get from Augusta to Columbia County. Right now, that's the only way to get from Evans to Downtown Augusta," he told News 12.
Even though Goodbee's yard will shrink, she still says the project is a good idea.
"Safer traffic flow and more barriers between us and the road, even though we lose some of our yard," she said.
It also means a bike lane to keep riders like Lam safer and closer to home.
"More cyclists are going to use that, and it will tie in the rest of Columbia County," he said.
The 35 million dollar project is supposed to be finished by April 2017. It will widen Old Petersburg Road from Baston Road to Old Evans Road.
To read more about the project click here.