Editor’s note: This is the first in a number of stories on topics discussed at Wednesday’s forum.
The $32.5 million widening of Highway 144 in South Bryan should be finished sometime during the third quarter of 2021, a Georgia Department of Transportation engineer said Wednesday. Plans to four-lane about five miles of the busy road were decades in the making. Actual road work began in 2018.
It is about 48 percent complete, according to GDOT Engineer Troy Pittman, who briefly discussed a number of transportation projects Wednesday morning during the Richmond Hill-Bryan County Chamber of Commerce’s 2020 “State of the Community” forum at the City Center.
Moderated by Thomas and Hutton Vice President Ralph Forbes, the event included updates from Pembroke, Richmond Hill and Bryan County officials on everything from infrastructure to public safety to recreation, schools and transportation.
“The RHBC Chamber of Commerce started this event in order to inform the community of all the work happening in Richmond Hill, Bryan County, and Pembroke,” RHBC Chamber Executive Director Kathryn Johnson said. “We feel like the forum is a great way of showing the collaborative effort of our local entities and the projects that are at work. There is a lot going on so it’s important to get accurate information out into the community.”
Also included in Pittman’s updates of GDOT projects: The roundabouts slated for the Highway 144 interchange at I-95 inRichmond Hill are set for completion in the fourth quarter of 2021. It is only 8 percent finished at the moment, Pittman said.
The new I-95 interchange at Belfast Keller, a $19 million project, might be complete before the widening of 144. Work on the roundabouts is almost halfway done and the project is expected to be completed in the second quarter of 2021.
Work on improvements to Sterling Creek Bridge is progressing, as is paving of the new Towne Parke Drive off 144.
Pittman said the DOT is doing eight traffic studies in Bryan County, including one to improve the Highway 17 and Harris Trail Road intersection. There, additional left turn lanes onto Harris Trail from 17 are being considered.
And, there are plans in place to resurface the Highway 144 spur, a $1 million project expected to begin in 2021.
In North Bryan, the DOT is looking at roundabouts for the increasingly busy I-16 and Highway 280 interchange, with work already starting on “concept development,” Pittman said.
The project is expected to cost more than $2.6 million and funding is not expected to be available until 2023 at the earliest, according to Pittman.
There are also plans to resurface Highway 280 from Pembroke to I-16, a project expected to cost more than $3 million.