Macon Road Widening Job to Alleviate Growing Traffic Woes

Thu February 05, 2009 - Southeast Edition
Eric Olson



Crews are busy working on a $14.5 million road-widening project along Bloomfield Road/Log Cabin Drive on Macon’s west-southwest side that will help alleviate growing traffic headaches in the area.

The project stretches a little more than 2.5 mi. (4 km) south to north on Bloomfield Road from Rocky Creek Road to Log Cabin Drive and then along that road north to U.S. 80/Eisenhower Parkway.

Plans call for the two-lane Bloomfield Road corridor to be expanded to four travel lanes, with a middle turning lane, by the time the road project is finished sometime early in 2010, according to Al Eckford, roadway division vice president for C.W. Matthews Contracting Co. in Marietta, the general contractor on the job.

He characterized the project as “a basic road widening, complete with new sidewalks, curbs and gutters.”

Eckford’s firm was awarded the contract in November 2007 by the Georgia Department of Transportation (GADOT) and began work along the roadway early last year. Eckford said that his company is still shooting for a planned completion date of Dec. 31, but due to some delays in getting utilities moved at the site, such as overhead power lines and underground gas lines, the project will probably be finished several weeks later.

Another setback for the crews on Bloomfield Road was a severe spring storm that blew through the area last Mother’s Day and spawned several moderately strong tornadoes.

“That storm really had an impact on the project,” Eckford said. “It delayed the utilities crews from being able to do their jobs either due to the mess that was made at the job site or because they had to be pulled off the job to do emergency work elsewhere. I would say that it delayed their work by 3 to 6 months. We had a lot of trees down along the roadway that had to be removed, too. It was a real mess.”

Once everything was cleaned up, though, he said that the project moved swiftly along again. So far, the winter weather has been mild and has not hampered their efforts.

Traffic in the area is still able to use the existing two lanes without much delay as work is progressing largely on the outside edges of the roadway.

The Bloomfield Road/Log Cabin Drive corridor is mostly a growing residential area and as a result, the volume of traffic has been building for several years, Eckford said. Motorists use the roadway to reach nearby I-75, via Rocky Creek Road on the south end, as well as Eisenhower Parkway and I-475 on the north and west ends.

Many local residents use Bloomfield Road and Log Cabin Drive to commute to and from work, meaning that traffic is heaviest during weekday mornings and late afternoons. Accordingly, the crews at the job site can make lane closures only between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. during the week, Eckford explained.

“But we have not had to do many closures,” he added. “Because of the way that we have it staged out, traffic is able to use the existing lanes pretty easily. There are some days when we may have to close a lane, but that is usually during the middle of the day when it doesn’t hamper rush hour commuters.”

C.W. Matthews usually has around eight to 10 people on the job and, counting the subcontractors, there may be 20 to 25 workers along Bloomfield Road on any given weekday.

Pyles Plumbing & Utility Contractors in Macon is handling the relocation of all the water lines along Bloomfield Road that come into conflict with the widening project, while the concrete, curb and gutter work is being done by A.C. Blount Concrete Service in Moultrie.

Although C.W. Matthews does much of its own paving work, this project is being paved by Macon’s own Georgia Asphalt Inc., Eckford added.

Due to the Bloomfield Road/Log Cabin Drive project’s urban setting, the equipment C.W. Matthews is using is fairly light — no heavy earthmovers are employed on the project. Instead, C.W. Matthews, which prefers mainly Caterpillar machines, is primarily using model 325 and 330 excavators, as well as D4 and D6 track dozers.

The firm buys its Caterpillar equipment from Yancey Brothers Co. in Atlanta, Ga. CEG