Road construction at the state line to finish on time due to COVID-19 keeping drivers at home
Wednesday, June 17, 2020
NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C. (WRDW/WAGT) -- Things really started to change over at the Interstate 20 bridge near North Augusta in the last few months. Oddly enough, it's all thanks to COVID-19 keeping people off the roads.
Driving by, you can see changes near the Augusta Canal and the medians turning into lanes. A lot of the work was able to get done during the quarantine when there were fewer cars on the road.
For the few workers deemed essential during the quarantine, like those in construction, the quiet roads were an eerie sight.
"They saw drastic reduction especially in the beginning, during the quarantine process, a 30 to 40 percent drop. It seems like that has started to tick back up,” Kyle Collins with the Georgia Department of Transportation said.
According to Collins, fewer cars on the road meant work could be done quicker, and with less pain to drivers. Some projects that were supposed to be done at night got moved to the day because of less traffic.
So, projects like the one for the I-20 bridge, construction on exit 183, and on I-20 toward McDuffie were not impacted by the virus are set to finish on time.
"Had a few less cars to deal with, so maybe they were able to get things done just a little bit faster than they would have maybe with a higher traffic volume,” Collins said.
At the state line where Georgia meets South Carolina, workers entered phase two of the $82 million project. Cranes are building the foundation of a third lane near the Augusta Canal and shifting traffic to begin widening the median. This all to reconfigure the ramp off of exit 1 and add turning lanes and a traffic light.
“Visually, it's going to take shape and be a totally different roadway and bridge when this is all said and done. It'll be a lot safer,” Collins said. “Folks that have driven in this area for decades definitely won't recognize the finished product when it's done in 2022."
Collins is ready for everyone to see the finished product. The entire road improvement project is set to finish by spring of 2022, but the exit 1 improvements could be done sooner, in about six months to a year.
"Our maintenance team members who repair roads and bridges and our project teams who oversee construction projects are continuing their essential work, while following sanitary work practices prescribed by health agencies to protect themselves and the public from the coronavirus, as are most state DOTs in the U.S."