The on again, off again widening of Highway 144 is back on, according to a joint news release from Bryan County and the city of Richmond Hill.
The Georgia Department of Transportation, which originally said bids for the project would be sought this spring, removed the project from its Statewide Transportation Improvement Program last August. It appeared at the time that environmental impact studies GDOT had performed had expired and had to be redone.
Local elected officials worked with area state legislators to get the project back on track for this year. GDOT had originally planned to delay it until 2025.
“This collaboration is a prime example of the county and the city working together,” Richmond Hill Mayor Russ Carpenter said. “People think we’re so much at odds, but that’s just not the case. If we hadn’t worked together on this, it wouldn’t be happening. The 144 widening is something we’ve all been working on for 10 years now, and we’re finally going to see it come to fruition. To say it is good news is an understatement.”
The project, which will widen Highway 144 from Timber Trail to Belfast River Road, will cost $26 million and take about 2.5 years to complete.
“We are very excited about the widening of 144 and the county has already started engineering work on roundabouts and other areas in anticipation of this initiative,” said Commissioners Chairman Carter Infinger. “There was a lot of work behind the scenes to reach this decision and I could not be more delighted.”
Construction is expected to begin later this year.
The new I-95 interchange at Belfast Keller Road remains on GDOT’s STIP list and also is expected to begin this year.