I-20 construction shifting into high gear

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News 12 First at Five, September 19, 2007

AUGUSTA, Ga.---More short term headaches for drivers with detours ahead. First the Bobby Jones construction project...now crews looking to widen the stretch along I-20 and Washington Road. Driving along I-20 it is hard to miss the orange barrels and road work signs dotting the highway.

A not so familiar sight came Wednesday with bulldozers crashing through the trees. 86 year old John Buckley has lived in Augusta most of his life. He calls the work a sign of growth. He says, "Progress of course is necessary, and I can remember when there was no highway there at all. It was nothing but forest."

It's history repeating itself. Lumber crews were back at it again clearing out forested areas. The plan is to widen the bridge over Washington Road and River Watch Parkway. Ramps to and from I-20 to Washington Road will also be resurfaced.

But first, everything must go to make room for a new lane to run through town right along I-20 and Washington Road. It's just one of many scheduled projects along the same stretch. Donah Barber says, "It seems like they could space it so only one area of town would be impacted at a time."

Donah calls the construction work frustrating. She says, "You can't go out to eat, you can't grab a burger...you know it's not 10 minutes anymore." The familiar Bobby Jones Construction project also now shifting into full gear. The plan there is to add lanes... including two fly-over ramps. That will mean ramp closures at the end of the month...so expect detours.

Project managers say, "The easier it is for people to get on and off the interstate the safer it is and better traffic flows." They have just one request..."Slow down and pay attention. Everybody is tempted to look and see what we're doing." The project is slated to run for the next three years. Mr. Buckley says, "I don't like it too much, but it's inevitable with progress."

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