Motorists traveling Georgia State Route 67 from Statesboro south to I-16, will now see four lanes of pavement the entire way of the 13-mi. project.
The Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) said it will spend the final months of the two-year project on details like lane dividers, intersections and other improvements.
"We're looking at this project being completed and opening all four lanes before October," said Jill Nagel, the communications officer of GDOT District 5.
That could be music to the ears of the almost 20,000 drivers who travel this road daily. Nagel said the contractor, R.B. Baker Construction in Garden City, has stayed on schedule and on budget despite many days of rainstorms that halted work.
Crews currently are working on turn lanes and medians at different spots along the way. According to Nagel, other steps are hanging signs and spraying a final topcoat over the asphalt. While that is going on, the GDOT will open the outside lanes on both sides of GA 67 to allow its crews to safely work in the middle.
Northbound and southbound will travel in one lane only for the time being, Nagel added.
She said four lanes on GA 67 will allow faster traffic to move around slower cars or people waiting to make a left turn and that, in turn, will make driving safer. But, she cautioned, the GDOT needs people to be safe now so they can get this work done without harm.
When completed, it will bring an end to the $41 million widening of GA 67 from Statesboro's bypass to Interstate 16, a project long wished for by local officials and residents. In fact, the earliest project documents at the GDOT date back to 1993.
From downtown Statesboro, GA 67 and I-16 provide the most direct route to Savannah. But unlike U.S. Highway 301 to the west, which also intersects with I-16, GA 67 was limited to two lanes for much of the way to the interstate. The widening, though, should alleviate most traffic concerns.
A four-lane GA 67 will have a 32-ft.-wide depressed median for most of the project length. Four narrower sections will have five lanes but no median, making them narrower, with a 14-ft. paved center lane serving as a two-way left-turn lane.
"The five-lane section would enable the project to avoid impacts to commercial sites and historic properties in the community of Denmark as well as other historic properties along the corridor," stated a GDOT summary provided by Nagel in December 2018 before work began on the project.
"Most of the widening will occur along the east side of the existing roadway, shifting to the west side only to avoid specific historic properties," she wrote.
Construction of a bridge and approaches over Woodcock Branch also was part of the plan.
This section of GA 67 has been designated as part of a Statewide Bicycle Route corridor known as March to the Sea, Nagel noted. So, to accommodate bicycles, the improvements include a 6½-ft. paved shoulder in the rural sections and 4 ft. bike lanes in the sections with curb-and-gutter.