The widening project along Alabama Highway (Ga 15) in Ringgold is on track to be completed in September, according to the Georgia Department of Transportation. (Adam Cook photo)
After more than 3½ years, the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) has announced that its widening project along Alabama Highway/GA Highway 151 in north Georgia is closing in on the final stages of completion.
Work on the project initially began in July 2017 with a projected completion date of December 2020. However, last February officials with the GDOT said that the construction timeline would be pushed back 10 months to Sept. 16, 2021.
In January of this year, agency officials reiterated that the September finish remains the GDOT's goal.
"The project is still on track to be completed on time and at the current dollar amount," said Joe Schulman, communications officer of GDOT's District 6. "We are on schedule to meet this date. However, this could change, depending on the weather."
In addition to the project's timeline extension, the cost of the project also increased last year.
Initially, the project was bid to Marietta, Ga.-based C.W. Matthews Construction in the spring of 2017 at a cost of $34.6 million.
"There were changes made to the construction," Schulman said. "As a result, the new contract amount is $36,141,548.60."
When first announced, the goal of Alabama Highway's widening was to upgrade a roadway that would adequately serve current and future travel demands and provide the public with a safer driving environment. The improvements are being made along the primarily north-south corridor in the Catoosa County town of Ringgold, located just south of the Tennessee border.
The project is part of the Chattanooga Urban Area Transportation Study.
Overall, the highway construction includes a 2.07-mi. project to widen and reconstruct Alabama Highway/Ga. 151 beginning south of Rollins Industrial Park and extending to U.S. Highway 41.
The expansion will convert a two-lane road to a four-lane divided highway with a 20-foot raised median to Boynton Road/Lafayette Street and a flush median to U.S. 41. The project also includes the replacement of the two bridges over I-75 and South Chickamauga Creek, and the reconstruction of the interchange of I-75 and GA 151.
As for the upcoming work between now and September, Schulman said there is still some bridge work to wrap up, as well as paving and curb and gutter work.
"Bridge 1 over I-75 for the GA 151 northbound lanes is not complete," he reported. "The south end of the project between Holcomb Road and I-75 has asphalt paving and the concrete median remaining. The north end between I-75 and U.S. 41/GA 3 has curb and gutter and asphalt paving left to do."
Although some businesses and construction jobs have experienced setbacks due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Schulman said there has been little impact on the Alabama Highway/GA 151 project.
As there is paving and other work still to be finalized, he also explained that drivers should be prepared for minor lane shifts on the road in the coming months.
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