Holiday shopping could lead to longer drive times, especially in Columbia County

Published: Nov. 2, 2016 at 6:43 PM EDT
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News 12 First at Five / Nov. 2, 2016

COLUMBIA COUNTY, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) -- Chances are, you've been affected by the Riverwatch Parkway construction. With holidays just around the corner, it could mean even more congestion, and longer drive times.

Wednesday, a lane shifts this one around Old Evans Road to Stagecoach Way mark more steps, and construction on this road coming along. Another main road to keep in mind - Washington Road between Gibbs and Washington Road.

But, with holiday shoppers about to hit the road, and no end dates on this year's calendar, don't expect any breaks in the traffic, only brake lights in Columbia County.

"Just don't come up this far," joked Jonathan Mahoney.

He says traveling these roads daily has taught him to only drive when he has to. And during the holiday shopping season, he says traffic can be even more of a headache.

"You avoid a lot of the trouble with the traffic by coming out early, and getting started on it way early. because everybody's going to come at one time," he said.

That's why he's jumping on thing way before Black Friday. He's even skipping the lines, by shopping online.

"I think it's going to be a total, total cluster," said Jimez Rolland. He'll be doing his shopping online as well.

But, many will want to head to stores to pick out that perfect gift.

Lucky for them, roadwork on Wrightsboro Road by the mall finished up last year.

Smooth surfaces are a little further down the road for Grovetown's Robinson Avenue and Wrightsboro Roads, both still undergoing utility work into 2017.

The Riverwatch Expansion is set to be done in April, and Washington Road widening, to be complete sometime winter 2017.

Both GDOT and the County say during this time, they work to alleviate the craziness, by shutting work down on weekends, during holidays, really whenever they can so drivers have an easier commute.

"Yeah, start planning now," said Rolland, "Go ahead and get all your stuff knocked out. Halloween's over."

Further down Riverwatch into Richmond County, there are lane closure and delays for about a week by the I-20 interchange, but they're at the tail-end of that project. After finishing touches, next comes landscaping.

The next lane shift on the Riverwatch Expansion will start November 11, and go from Murray Drive to Lynnwood Drive, up toward Baston Road.