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Construction set to begin in February on River Watch Parkway extension

RIVER WATCH PARKWAY EXTENSION COMING

Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2014 6:56 PM
Last updated Friday, Jan. 24, 2014 9:05 PM
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Construction is set to begin the first week of February on an improved route for Columbia County commuters, according to Georgia Department of Transportation.

Construction on the widening of Old Petersburg Road is scheduled to begin the first week of February. The reason for widening the roads is to improve the route from Columbia County to Richmond County for commuters.  MICHAEL HOLAHAN/STAFF
MICHAEL HOLAHAN/STAFF
Construction on the widening of Old Petersburg Road is scheduled to begin the first week of February. The reason for widening the roads is to improve the route from Columbia County to Richmond County for commuters.

River Watch Parkway will be extended three miles to connect with Washington Road in Evans. The existing Old Petersburg and Old Evans roads between Baston Road and Columbia Industrial Boulevard will be widened from two to four lanes to create the longer parkway, with a 20-foot raised median, sidewalks and bike lanes.

At Columbia Industrial Boulevard, a new road will be built to extend the parkway to Washington Road at its intersection with Towne Center Drive.

“Most of the folks who live in Columbia County commute into Richmond County daily,” said Matt Schlachter, the director of Columbia County engineering services. “Extending River Watch into Evans will provide an alternative route to alleviate congestion on Washington Road.”

The $34.2 million project will receive $20 million from the 1 percent transportation tax being collected in 13 area counties.

The project, scheduled to be complete in April 2017, includes building two bridges over the CSX Railroad and Reed Creek.

Widening the existing Old Petersburg and Old Evans roads, where many churches and homes are located, required significant right of way acquisition.

Jennifer McCray, who lives in Petersburg Station subdivision off Old Petersburg Road, said she has no issues with traffic on Old Petersburg Road but welcomes the road widening if it will ease the commute for others in Columbia County.

McCray’s husband drives River Watch Parkway to his office in downtown Augusta.

“Maybe it’s something they think they need in the future,” she said. “It’s never bumper-to-bumper traffic out there.”

Still, McCray said she’s concerned about exiting her neighborhood if a traffic light is not installed at the subdivision entrance.

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DowntownJaguar
121
Points
DowntownJaguar 01/23/14 - 12:20 am
2
2
Brandon Wilde

Didn't the old people at Brandon Wilde somehow prevent this from happening several years ago--or, did I dream that?

iaaffg
2956
Points
iaaffg 01/23/14 - 07:56 am
2
1
oh boy, another new speedway

oh boy, another new speedway in columbia county!! and through a pretty-much-residential area!! watch your kids and animals, folks. get ready for the races. pull your lawn chairs up to the front yard, get a six pack and some hot dogs and you're set. wonder how long it is til they put up some more strip shopping centers and a few more walgreens and cvs stores along that route.

nocnoc
45118
Points
nocnoc 01/23/14 - 08:05 am
3
0
Yep ! CC has become the suppliers of ARC Work Force

This CC/RC thing mimics Atlanta and its surrounding counties almost perfectly.

Those that are living in town far out number those that commute into town.

In Atlanta's case those commuting in are mostly the Hi-tech / College educated staff and managers. An a majority of those in the lower end jobs are filled by those on the opposite side of town than those with the higher education and skills.

CC would do wise to study the pattern it is setting up.
Because that pattern ruined South Gwinnett in less than 15 years.

BTW: I wonder which of the Downtown Commissioners are thinking of also mimicking NYC tax solution? An will suggest an Added Tax or Commuter Tax, Toll Fee for River Watch or City Income tax?

It will be interesting to see which one decides to step all over him/herself politically.

seenitB4
90981
Points
seenitB4 01/23/14 - 08:10 am
4
1
Gwinnett

Well they did wise up somewhat & get the bus system rolling here....they pick up many at the malls near I-85 & bus down into town...but the traffic is still out of sight...

This will improve the flow into Augusta & it is needed....soon you will have thousands more when cyber command settles in.

vegasbaby
175
Points
vegasbaby 01/23/14 - 08:29 am
3
0
There is not a traffic problem on OPR

I am a resident of a subdivision off of OPR - I am worried about the traffic snarls the construction will bring, the access to the new roads from all of the subdivisions, the lose of property to certain residents making their property value and everyday lives worse, and more noise. A lot of school buses travel on OPR everyday, will they be effected? So there will be problems made to solve a non-problem. I think the writer of this article could have gotten more than one comment from a resident about this situation.

Little Lamb
47012
Points
Little Lamb 01/23/14 - 08:59 am
2
1
Overspeak?

From the story:

Most of the folks who live in Columbia County commute into Richmond County daily,” said Matt Schlachter, the director of Columbia County engineering services.

I think Matt Schlachter is overstating the truth. The latest census says the population of Columbia County is 124,053. Schlachter’s assertion would put 62,027 Columbia County citizens commuting to Richmond every business day. I know Washington Road seems crowded; but it’s not that bad, folks.

Little Lamb
47012
Points
Little Lamb 01/23/14 - 09:13 am
4
0
What?

Take a look at the second paragraph with me. The road widening is supposed to be about three miles, reporter Mirshak says. Clear enough. But then, Mirshak tells us that the project includes a 20-foot raised median. What in the world does that mean?

Does she mean that out of three miles, only twenty feet will have a raised median? That does not sound like the Georgia DOT that I know. I suspect there will be way more median than twenty feet.

lgr
236
Points
lgr 01/23/14 - 10:12 am
2
0
median

i think it means that the median will be 20 foot high. that means a divided highway, like bobby jones is in places

soapy_725
43772
Points
soapy_725 01/23/14 - 10:23 am
0
0
The median in ATL on I-20 is not 20 feet high. Ludicrous!!!!
Unpublished

The median in ATL on I-20 is not 20 feet high. Ludicrous!!!!

soapy_725
43772
Points
soapy_725 01/23/14 - 10:24 am
0
0
What happened to the 1 cent collected decades ago?
Unpublished

What happened to the 1 cent collected decades ago?

David Parker
7923
Points
David Parker 01/23/14 - 10:55 am
0
1
They still working a 5-point

They still working a 5-point intersection into the Old Evans/Petersburg and Blue Ridge meeting point? I know the design has changed here and there after so many years of "planning"

Little Lamb
47012
Points
Little Lamb 01/23/14 - 11:42 am
2
0
@ David

The mess at Old Petersburg/Old Evans/Blue Ridge will become completely re-shaped such that it will be a true intersection with only one traffic light. It will definitely be an improvement. Still, three years is a long time to wait for a three-mile road widening project. I guess the DOT is not interested in efficiency.

David Parker
7923
Points
David Parker 01/23/14 - 01:18 pm
0
1
I'd like to know if this will

I'd like to know if this will in any way affect water flow through Reed Creek. It's a trickle as it is and wouldn't want to see anything hinder it further.

Where's Rob Pavey to get the skinny on impact of Reed Creek greenspace ?

itsanotherday1
45503
Points
itsanotherday1 01/23/14 - 12:44 pm
3
1
Amusing

It is always amusing to see the folks grousing about progress. "We don't have a traffic problem"? WHAT!!! Have you not been on Washington Rd. between Davis Rd. and N. Belair Rd. in the afternoon?

Sorry, but people the world over have to deal with their older neighborhoods getting disrupted due to growth and the need for improved infrastructure.

I thought we moved to a safe location, but now I hear a school is scheduled to be built nearby. I didn't want the traffic and noise, but oh well, that is the price I pay to live in a growing county.

itsanotherday1
45503
Points
itsanotherday1 01/23/14 - 12:53 pm
3
0
Brandonwilde?

I'm thinking it was Mullin's Crossing owners who influenced the county to dump RW into the Belair Rd intersection. WHAT A CLUSTER!!

At the time, the excuse I recall was there are "wetlands" or some such along the route from Old Petersburg to Cox Rd.; but that route made so much more sense from a practicality POV. Those heading on out towards Appling or Grovetown could shoot straight across Washington; those headed towards the lake would hang a right before the congested Belair intersection.
Somebody got greased on that deal IMO.

Rob Pavey
552
Points
Rob Pavey 01/23/14 - 02:16 pm
1
0
the original route was through Owens Road....

if I recall, and this thing has been on the drawing board for almost 20 years, the route was to go through Owens Road - but Brandon Wildeans weren't wilde about the traffic and University was nailing down all that acreage at the Hereford Farm junction, and then it was decided that Owens Road was too curvy and would require huge amounts of right-of-way to create a decently straight road - so the route shifted to where it is today. I'm also skeptical they can finish this in three years.....and, as David Parker mentioned above, I also wonder about Reed Creek, although it isn't the trickle that concerns me - it's the stream's ability to safely send seasonal surges of stormwater to the river without damage.

David Parker
7923
Points
David Parker 01/23/14 - 03:57 pm
1
0
When it floods it does get

When it floods it does get quite far and wide and flows look very powerful for such a seemingly harmless creek.

And thanks for the input

vegasbaby
175
Points
vegasbaby 01/23/14 - 09:56 pm
1
0
There may be traffic problems on other roads

and building 4 lane highways out in the middle of nowhere like Riverwatch is now makes more sense, but there are pros and cons to any changes to neighborhoods and sometimes "progress" is not the best choice when you consider all the factors.

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