News 12 at 6 o' clock/ June 2, 2014
AUGUSTA, Ga.--Bad news for drivers who use the Bobby Jones Expressway to get around town. The orange cones and construction crews are not going away any time soon. The project, set to finish at the end of June, isn't expected to be complete until December 22nd.
The construction project involves everything between the Deans Bridge Rd. and Gordon Highway exits on the Bobby Jones Expressway. Crews are getting rid of the cloverleaf design and adding extra traffic lights and lanes.
The project started two years ago, but it's going to take another six months to get it all done, which means bad news not only for drivers but also for business.
Walter Parker owns Xtreme Window Tints along Dean's Bridge Rd. right near all of the construction. When he opened four years ago, business was booming. Parker says , "It was good. Then the construction came, and it's really slowed down."
If you've taken a drive near the Deans Bridge Rd. and Bobby Jones interchange in the past two years, you've probably seen what he's talking about. Traffic backups, construction crews, and orange barrels stretch as far as the eye can see.
Parker says, "It's a headache. A lot of my customer say they don't want to come here because of the construction, but I have some faithful customers."
DOT originally planned for the project to be complete at the end of May 2014. They bumped that date back to the end of June, and now they're saying it's going to be December 22nd.
DOT officials say weather is partly to blame for the longer construction. An unusual amount of rain, January's snow, and February's ice all added to delays. Along with weather problems workers have also had to deal with problems with utilities. DOT says the Deans Bridge Rd. intersection has an old infrastructure, so the utility lines need some extra attention.
In the meantime, drivers will just have to continue to plan for a slower commute for at least six more months.