Three projects will ease William Few traffic

Monday, Feb. 4, 2013 3:51 PM
Last updated Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2013 1:16 AM
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Motorists stuck in traffic snarls on both ends of William Few Parkway might soon get relief.

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Traffic backs up on William Few Parkway at Washington Road as classes let out at Greenbrier High School.  JIM BLAYLOCK/STAFF
JIM BLAYLOCK/STAFF
Traffic backs up on William Few Parkway at Washington Road as classes let out at Greenbrier High School.

Three projects to begin by summer will bring new traffic signals and an extended route for the thoroughfare that connects Evans to Grove­town and spans two major school complexes.

First up is the installation of a traffic signal at the Lewiston-William Few intersection, said Matt Schlachter, Columbia Coun­ty’s construction and main­tenance division director.

The project had been stalled because of its high cost. Lewiston Road is a state route, so the Department of Trans­portation was requiring the county to complete nearly $4 million in intersection improvements just to get the light, Schlachter said.

With a new special purpose local option sales tax to fund transportation projects, the department will allow the county to install the signals for a fraction of the cost. The state will rework the entire project in three years when it widens Lewis­ton Road.

“We went from spending about $4 million to about $200,000,” Schlachter said. “It’s a huge savings to the taxpayer.”

The project should be completed before the start of the 2013-14 school year, he said.

A few blocks away, at Cham­blin Road, a blinking red light has provided a temporary fix.

After the county’s discretionary funding from the transportation sales tax becomes available – expected to be about $160,000 per month – the intersection will get turning lanes or be converted to a roundabout, as recommended by a consultant.

Work on the intersection could start by August, Schlach­ter said, with completion by the end of the year.

At the northern end of Wil­liam Few, a major source of school traffic jams should get relief when the highway is extended to connect with Hardy McManus Road. That project has been hit with repeated delays.

“We’ve just been snake-bit from Day 1,” Schlachter said, with problems that included a consultant going out of business, an engineer being replaced because of a conflict, a change in the scope of the project midway, and the state forcing the county to redo environmental studies after standards changed.

With final environmental approvals expected soon, the estimated $7 million project could go out to bids as early as May, Schlachter said.

“It’ll actually be built with federal dollars, which is why we had to go through so much environmental (permitting),” he said.

The extension will include a two-lane highway with a center turn lane, crossing Euchee Creek and wetlands via a $3 million bridge. The route will connect with Hardy McManus near the entrance to Grace Bap­tist Church.

Construction could begin by the end of the summer, Schlach­ter said, and take 12 to 18 months to complete.

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csrareader
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csrareader 02/04/13 - 04:59 pm
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It's truly amazing that the

It's truly amazing that the Lewiston/William Few intersection has not been the location of multiple fatalities. I've seen idiots get out of their car at the intersection, walk out into traffic, and stop the flow of traffic with hand signals while other drivers can pull out. The only time that County Sheriff's Department officers show up is to investigate the multiple accidents at the location. If they want some entertainment, I invite them to pull up and simply observe the traffic flow at that location.

rebellious
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rebellious 02/04/13 - 09:45 pm
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I wonder

if Mr. Schlachter could help get the Windsor Spring widening going. They (Columbia County) announces in February a project they will start in the summer. Or maybe he has helped us. That St Sebastion thingy crossing over to Riverwatch went about that fast.

Or is it my imagination?

Little Lamb
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Little Lamb 02/04/13 - 11:18 pm
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No, it's not.

From the story:

“We went from spending about $4 million to about $200,000,” Schlachter said. “It’s a huge savings to the taxpayer.”

Sad, that a high-salaried government department head uses misleading statements like that. The project will still cost taxpayers $4 million. TSPLOS taxes are just as bad as property taxes. It comes out of the same pockets.

Little Lamb
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Little Lamb 02/04/13 - 11:33 pm
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Unfair

I'm sure countyman will not like this development. When I made my previous post (10:18 p.m.) it kicked this story onto the "most discussed" list. That shows that the Chronicle has a bias toward Columbia County. Why, you ask? Well, I made a post on the Augusta bus issue earlier in the evening. That post was number three for that story, and that story did not make the "most discussed" list.

seenitB4
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seenitB4 02/05/13 - 07:08 am
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I lke that part of town

Already have friends along Lewiston Rd area...sooo fix the dang thing B4 I move back why doncha.....don't make me move out thar by Rebel....with his dogs & guns & stuff....:)

Little Lamb
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Little Lamb 02/05/13 - 09:14 am
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Fading

Interest in this story waned quickly, and it dutifully fell off the "most discussed" list.

soapy_725
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soapy_725 02/05/13 - 10:45 am
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Concern for the wetlands?
Unpublished

The wetlands that have housing construction existing and underway? What a load of BS. The same old story about state, federal or county road. If Wally World builds a store they do anything they please in a heartbeat. Four lanes, five lanes, handicapped crossings, traffic lights, acceleration lanes, etc.

And, oh this is federal funding. Like we are not paying federal taxes? Like man this is free federal money from the Obama Tree.

And the traffic circles. With only a single lane of traffic and yields signs it has the same function as a four way stop. The model for traffic circles other than GEORGIA DOT is a double lane with no yields sign which keeps traffic flowing.

William Few should have been a cross county four lane highway before all of the housing saturation. There is a political money trail to this mentality of infrastructure after the fact. The politicians know years in advance where the "demographic saturation" will occur.

And the classic CC "highway thingy" is the fifty square feet of dirt and grass in front of the Evans Diner that juts out into a five lane road. Ludicrous. Amazing that someone has not died at this "over site".

Little Lamb
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Little Lamb 02/05/13 - 10:55 am
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Slow News Day

I see that my 8:14 post bumped this story back onto the "most discussed" list again.

dichotomy
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dichotomy 02/05/13 - 11:22 am
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You will never see this kind

You will never see this kind of emphasis on a road project in South Augusta. Evans yes, downtown yes, near the Masters yes, but there are always "problems" that slow the process in South Richmond County. I'm starting to think that they actually fear that we might get some growth out this way if they improved the area and we might steal some of their development.....or finally get enough people that they would actually have to provide us services. Might even run up the prices of their Section 8 dumping grounds. There is always a "bigger picture" you know. Neglect can be benign or neglect can be purposeful.

itsanotherday1
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itsanotherday1 02/05/13 - 12:06 pm
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The I-20 / Lewiston /William

The I-20 / Lewiston /William Few section is going to be tricky just from the sheer volume that area handles during commute hours.

Little Lamb
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Little Lamb 02/05/13 - 12:18 pm
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Roundabout

From the story:

The project had been stalled because of its high cost. Lewiston Road is a state route, so the Department of Trans­portation was requiring the county to complete nearly $4 million in intersection improvements just to get the light, Schlachter said.

This would have been an ideal location for a roundabout, or traffic circle. Outside of rush hours, there is no need for a traffic signal. It's a low-traffic area most of the time.

csrareader
1283
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csrareader 02/05/13 - 12:58 pm
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"This would have been an

"This would have been an ideal location for a roundabout, or traffic circle. Outside of rush hours, there is no need for a traffic signal. It's a low-traffic area most of the time."

What are you talking about? This intersection is always busy. Try making that left turn from William Few onto Lewiston on a regular basis - rush hour, day time, night time or weekends. You're lucky to survive. This project is far overdue. The county has been telling people that the State of Georgia would not give permission to make any changes. Now they say it's been a cost issue?

LLArms
470
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LLArms 02/05/13 - 01:24 pm
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FINALLY.

FINALLY.

itsanotherday1
41336
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itsanotherday1 02/05/13 - 05:58 pm
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A roundabout is still not a

A roundabout is still not a bad idea; it keeps traffic flowing.

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