The Augusta Economic Development Authority held a meeting on the project at Augusta Regional Airport.
Walter Sprouse, the executive director for the Augusta Economic Development Authority, said virtually no one is disappointed that the road will be widened.
“That’s not the issue. The issue is ‘How’s it going to affect my people coming in and out,’” he said.
Sprouse estimated about 2,000 employees use the two-lane road to get to and from the 20 or so companies that have been built along it.
“Not counting the trucks coming in and out with product. Not counting the trucks going out,” Sprouse said.
The project will widen the road to five lanes – two in each direction and a center turn lane. Sidewalks and a new railroad crossing are planned, as well as work on Cookie Road that will address some drainage issues, Traffic Engineer Steve Cassell said. The first phase of the project is to secure right of way and move utility lines, which is currently being done.
Mike Richardson of Georgia Power Co., said utility work is scheduled to begin within a couple of months and be completed by March.
Power outages at the different businesses are expected, but Richardson said he can’t say which businesses will be affected or for how long. If an outage is required, it will be brief and scheduled with the affected business a couple of weeks in advance.
“We will work through your key account managers for the ones that we need to do an outage,” Richardson said.
Cassell said road construction is expected to begin by the end of the year and will take at least a year to complete.
He said the road will be open the entire time, but if it becomes necessary to narrow the road to one lane, it will be limited to the middle of the day, when traffic will be lightest.
“At the end of the day, it is a construction project. It’s going to be a pain at certain times. But it will all be a good thing in the end,” Cassell said.
Another meeting is expected be scheduled before Phase II begins to address any additional concerns that may arise.