February 21, 2007
AUGUSTA, Ga.---With a growing area come growing traffic problems.
Today the Georgia Department of Transportation presented its next project: our first look at the design for I-20 and Bobby Jones.
The construction on Walton Way Extension won't be finished until January of next year...and with another project planned right down the road, neighbors are cautious about the outcome.
The intersection of Walton Way Extension and Pleasant Home looks more like an obstacle course than a roadway.
"Right now it looks like a combat zone," Stewart Phinizy told News 12. Stewart works at Blanchard and Calhoun, located in the heart of the Walton Way Extension widening project. It's a project that's still under construction nearly a year after workers broke ground.
Now Georgia DOT is hoping to break ground on another project right around the corner.
"Reminds me somewhat of the gridlock you see in Atlanta, and I don't like to see it," Stewart said. "My hopes are that when it's done it will not be as bad as it looks like it could be."
The new proposal's main focus is to reconstruct the I-20/520 interchange. They'll do this by getting rid of two cloverleaf ramps and creating two flyover ramps instead. It'll cost $160 million and is predicted to take at least three years to complete.
"The big thing is just to make the intersection a lot more efficient and be able to handle a lot bigger capacities of traffic," said Scott Stephens with the DOT.
The plans also call for sound barriers and extra lanes.
But people living in the affected area are cautious.
"I think as soon as it gets done, everybody is going to breathe a sigh of relief," said Evelyn Whitehurst. Evelyn lives in the Fox Hall neighborhood on Pleasant Home Road right at the end of the contraction zone.
"When we built this house we were in the woods, 23 years ago, and who would've known that they were going to do this," she said. "I don't think anyone really likes it."
The DOT also mentioned a couple other projects at the presentation. It will take five years to finish it all.
We're in the middle of the work at Walton Way Extension. That should be done early 2008.
Meanwhile, the construction at the Bobby Jones interchange starts in June.
That means there will be six months of overlap on two big projects right next to each other.
They won't be completely finished until 2010 or 2012.
Construction Project Plans and Maps (.pdf)
I-20/I-520 Interchange Plans (highlights below)