After years of planning, the newly paved portion of Harris Trail in South Bryan opened for business Friday morning as officials opened 3.2 miles of winding blacktop expected to reduce traffic on Highway 144.
Bryan County Commission Chairman Jimmy Burnsed called the event “long anticipated,” as he cut a ribbon to signify the road’s opening, and others agreed.
“This is something that’s been in the works for a long, long time,” said Bryan County Administrator Phil Jones. “We’ve always needed a second avenue of approach into the city. This should take a significant workload off Highway 144 and it will definitely provide us with a great opportunity when the widening of 144 starts. It’s just a great project, the company did a great job building the road and it will be of great benefit to the county.”
The county started “moving dirt” on the project in 2011, Burnsed said. Contractor R.B. Baker began paving in August.
Funding difficulties delayed the project initially. A 2008 bid by county commissioners to raise taxes to fund the road was met with objections by residents.
Eventually, the $2.2 million project was paid for with a combination of SPLOST, state and federal funds. SPLOST covered about 80 percent of the cost, officials said. The state Department of Transportation picked up about 10 percent, according to DOT district engineer Karon Ivory.
“This is just one example of DOT participation with county and local districts,” he said. We’re just happy to do our part.”
Read more in the Dec. 15 edition of the News.