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Big road projects on the list for Bryan County

A draft of the state’s upcoming road projects, including several in Bryan County, is now online and available for public review.
The Georgia Department of Transportation’s Statewide Transportation Improvement Program, or STIP, list is for the 2015 through 2018 fiscal years.
It includes more than $31.8 million in projects in Bryan County — including the much anticipated $12 million interchange at I-95 and Belfast Siding.
Work on the new interchange could start as early as the 2017 calendar, Richmond Hill Mayor Harold Fowler said Tuesday.
The new interchange near the Belfast Commerce Center will make Richmond Hill the only city in Georgia with three interchanges on I-95, Fowler said, noting the interchange will bring in more industry and commercial development while also easing congestion and making it easier for residents in South Bryan to get to I-95 in case an evacuation is necessary.
Georgia hasn’t had a mandatory evacuation since 1999 when Hurricane Floyd threatened the coast before turning north.
But the biggest impact will be economic, proponents have long said, and that includes a boost in sales taxes. Fowler estimated that currently, the two truck stops on I-95 within the city limits generate about $1 million annually in sales taxes.
“It’s substantial,” he said.
About $6.9 million of the interchange’s funding is federal, with another $1.7 million coming from the state. Another $3.3 million is coming from private sources and local governments.
The interchange may be the most high profile project on the draft STIP list, but it’s far from the only one.
Also on the list is the widening of Highway 144 from two to four lanes for a distance of about 5 miles from Timber Trail to the Bryan County Administrative Building at Belfast River Road. Right of way is set to be acquired in 2015, with work slated to begin in fiscal year 2017. The project is expected to cost about $27.4 million, according to DOT.
- Improving the off ramps at the 144 exit off I-95 South is projected to cost about $500,000. No start date was given for the project.
-Work to install rip rap to repair slopes at the Highway 144 Spur and the Ogeechee River is expected to cost about $5.6 million. Work on that project could begin in fiscal year 2017.
- DOT will spend about $415,000 to improve the I-95 interchange at Highway 17. No start date is listed, though all work on the list is slated to begin between the DOT’s fiscal 2015-2018 calendar.
-Various new or improved traffic signals and maintenance is set for 17 in Bryan County and on down to 204 in Chatham County. The cost is about $1 million. No start date has been given for the work.
- Some $700,000 will be spent to rehabilitate the I-95 bridge that crosses the CSX rail line. No start date is given.
- Another $2.2 million is set to resurface Highway 144 on Fort Stewart from Bryan County to Trinity Road in Liberty County, a distance of about 11.6 miles. No start date has been given for that project.
- Resurfacing 144 from I-95 east to 17, a distance of about 3.4 miles. The cost is $1.2 million. No start date given.
- Resurfacing 12.4 miles on Highway 144 from Richmond Hill city limits to Brown Road, at a cost of about $2.4 million. No start date given.

Pembroke’s also got projects on the STIP list.
Among them is the resurfacing of about .69 of a mile from North Poplar Street to Warnell Street at a projected cost of more than $238,000.
Resurfacing some 6.6 miles of Highway 119 from I-16 to Payne Drive is also set to begin at some point between fiscal year 2015 and fiscal year 2018 at a cost projected to be around $1.5 million.
Repairs to the bridges on both sides of I-16 over Black Creek are also scheduled to begin at some point prior to 2018. The cost is an estimated $825,000.

The Georgia DOT District 5 office in Jesup is sponsoring two open house meetings where the public can view the STIP list, see maps, discuss projects with the GDOT and comment.
The first meeting is from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Mall at Waycross, 2215 Memorial Drive.
The second meeting is from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., Tuesday, Sept. 9 at the Statesboro Regional Library, 124 South Main Street.
The Draft FY 15-18 STIP will also be available on the internet at . 

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