Editor's note: An earlier version of this story did not accurately report the day the bidding process began.
The wait is finally over for Windsor Spring Road motorists long promised a wider road to ease congestion.
The bidding process began Friday for construction to widen a three-mile stretch of Windsor Spring between Tobacco and Willis Foreman roads from two to four lanes. Widening Windsor Spring between George Highway 88 and Willis Foreman Road begins in November, according to the Georgia Department of Transportation.
“It was promised years ago,” said Joe Jackson, the District 6 Augusta Commission member. “I’m very glad to see it finally – after working with Augusta traffic engineering and Georgia Department of Transportation – getting funds.”
The two-phase, $43 million project was allocated $6 million from the 1 percent transportation sales tax being collected in the Augusta region.
According to Jackson, the widening was included in the voter-approved transportation project list to guarantee its completion. Under the Transportation Investment Act, all projects on the approved list must be finished.
“I wanted to make sure someone’s feet were held to the fire,” said Jackson, who served on the regional roundtable that compiled the list of projects.
The Rev. Timothy Green, of Jenkins Memorial CME Church, said he has expected the widening since 1988, when his church built far back from the road shoulder. County planners had warned him the road project was coming.
“We’ve been wanting this a long time. We’ve been fighting for this a long time,” Jenkins said. “It’s a blessing.”
The two-lane road becomes easily congested each morning and afternoon, especially near school dismissal, Jenkins said. Events at Diamond Lakes Regional Park, also on the stretch of road set for widening, cause traffic jams, he said.
Improvements to the artery will encourage housing and commercial development in south Augusta, said Jackson, adding that the widening was one of his goals when he campaigned for the first of his two terms on the Augusta Commission.
“Once you open that corridor, it’s going to encourage growth,” he said.
The new four-lane highway will be separated by a raised median and have 8-foot-wide asphalt multi-use trails on both shoulders.