The Georgia Department of Transportation announced Thursday a construction contract for the final nine miles of a four-lane highway connecting Augusta to Columbus.
The 215-mile Fall Line Freeway traverses middle Georgia. The final section in Baldwin and Wilkinson counties will be built by Balfour Beatty Infrastructure Inc. at a cost of $58.3 million. The section is south of Milledgeville between State Route 24 and U.S. Highway 441.
Don Grantham, GDOT representative for District 10 including Richmond and Columbia counties, said environmental studies around the Oconee River wetlands delayed the project until now.
“It’s an opportunity to do business or have a pleasurable shortcut into the areas of Georgia that have not been available until now and even into Alabama and Florida,” Grantham said.
The route takes a straighter path by cutting across the swamp area, Grantham said. Currently, drivers must take a two-lane road around the area.
The project includes construction of eight bridges spanning the Oconee River and two creeks. It probably will be finished at the end of 2015, GDOT said.
“I’m glad to see it come to completion,” Grantham said. “It’s been a huge, ongoing project for years.”
The Fall Line Freeway has received more than $500 million in funding, the department said. It is part of the Governor’s Road Improvement Program that invests in highways for economic development and to connect more Georgia cities with the interstate system.