News 12 at 6 o'clock / Thursday, Aug. 23, 2012
GROVETOWN, Ga. -- Grovetown is the fastest-growing part of Columbia County and with more people, comes more problems like traffic.
News 12 was out before dawn catching rush hour first hand. After years of complaints, the county says there's light at the end of the tunnel.
Christa Rolon cranked up for another morning drive on Thursday.
"Yesterday I had to sit in traffic for 35 minutes just to get from Chamblin to Lewiston," Rolon said. "The morning commute, it's just crazy."
For miles down Lewiston Road and William Few Parkway, it's nothing but brake lights.
"Is it like this every day?" we asked a driver stuck in traffic.
"Every day," he yelled back.
"It's definitely very frustrating to just have to sit there and creep," Rolon said.
With more homes being built, more cars are on the roads heading to Interstate 20.
"The worst time's probably between 7:20 am and probably after 8. I think the roads need to be widened, I think there needs to be a red light," Rolon said.
And that's exactly what the county has planned.
"We have had lots of complaints about this intersection," said Matt Schlachter, director of construction and maintenance. "It's not falling on deaf ears. We have been working. I know people don't realize it, they don't see anything, but we've got a lot of time and money into the design already."
The plan is to widen Lewiston Road, put in turn lanes and add a traffic signal at William Few. There will still be traffic, but planners say it will really help the flow.
"Once the new middle school opens, it's definitely going to create even more ruckus and confusion out here," Rolon said.
Lewiston is a state road, meaning more hoops to jump through and a long waiting line.
"DOT has to give us the final approval to do it because it is a state route, we can't do it without their approval. They are backed up," Schlachter said.
And it's a project that's going to cost.
"Whew, it's probably going to be about $1.5 million to do what we're looking to do here, do all the widening, install the signal," he said.
The county just got plans back from their engineers and submitted them to DOT on Thursday. Next, they will buy up the right of way, get commission approval and bid out the project. They're looking at a timeline of next summer before the first phase of work is done.
There are also TSPLOST funds coming to pay for construction at Chamblin and William Few and to extend widening all the way down Lewiston Road.