Commuters change routes to avoid Mike Padgett Highway construction

Monday, Feb. 24, 2014 6:05 PM
Last updated Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2014 1:09 AM
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If you commute on Mike Padgett Highway, plan on budgeting more time for your drive.

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Construction is underway on a five-mile stretch of Mike Padgett Highway. The work will affect the commutes of many Plant Vogtle workers.  SARA CALDWELL/STAFF
Construction is underway on a five-mile stretch of Mike Padgett Highway. The work will affect the commutes of many Plant Vogtle workers.

Construction started Monday on a five-mile stretch of Mike Padgett between Old Waynesboro and Bennock Mill roads, spurring lane and speed limit reductions. Motorists should seek alternate routes if possible, Georgia Department of Transportation said.

“It may get congested since they are condensing it from four to two lanes,” said department spokeswoman Cissy McNure. “Their commute time is going to take longer.”

A detour was not set up because the road will remain open during construction, which is expected to take 30 months, McNure said. The speed limit was reduced from 55 mph to 35.

Last week, Plant Vogtle engineer Kim Moncus, of Grovetown, changed her route to the nuclear power facility. She plans to drive U.S. Highway 25 to Waynesboro, and then take side roads to Vogtle.

“I didn’t want to deal with the backups,” she said. “As bad as traffic already is, I can’t imagine how it will be with one lane (in each direction) and construction going on.”

The road work overlaps with peak years of construction at Vogtle, where 3,000 workers are building two new reactors. The workforce will spike to 5,000 before finishing the reactors, scheduled to go online in 2017 and 2018.

Moncus’ alternate route will add five to 15 minutes each way to her drive. She knows the highway needs improvements, especially for safety, but questions the timing of construction.
“They knew the Vogtle project was coming out here for years. They could have done it before peak construction,” she said.

Eric Rasmussen, another worker at the Vogtle construction site, added 10 minutes to his commute Monday after taking U.S. 25 instead of Mike Padgett Highway. He didn’t want to take the chance of being delayed in the construction zone.

“It’s nice to avoid unpredictability,” he said.

The project will add a raised concrete center median with dedicated left-turn lanes and 10-foot shoulders to Mike Padgett. The improvements will reduce car collisions and traffic fatalities, one of the goals of the project, GDOT said.

Construction is estimated to cost $30.4 million, in addition to millions that have already been spent on engineering and right-of-way acquisitions.

Roland Hogland, who has lived on Mike Padgett since 1973, has seen several fatalities in front of his house. He lost 71 feet of his front yard for right-of-way acquisition, but he doesn’t argue with a project to save people’s lives.
“Once they get through with it, I hope it will be better for us,” he said.

Hogland doesn’t even try to leave his driveway during the morning and afternoon rush hours. He doesn’t want to get in the way of speeding drivers and gravel and logging trucks.

Industrial salesman Fred Marsh, who makes frequent visits to Industrial Paper on Mike Padgett, said traffic flowed smoothly Monday morning and he didn’t need the extra time he built into his commute. The road needs improvement and he’s watching for it to be completed on time.

“It’s a necessary evil,” Marsh said about the construction.

For John Sampson, the owner of Chef Redd’s BBQ and Breakfast Kitchen, construction is great news for his business.

He’s feeding road crews and nearby residents who’d rather stop for lunch at his place than drive through the construction zone.

“People don’t want to go out of the area and get stuck getting back in. I’m right here,” he said.

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countyman 02/25/14 - 02:42 am
Let's hope the city will take

Let's hope the city will take FULL advantage of the future growth prospects. The Cyber Command, NSA, Rockwood, Starbucks, and Plant Vogtle will bring growth to South Augusta. The highway 56 corridor is full of potential especially once you cross the Tobacco rd intersection/Ghosen area towards Burke County.

The area can use a nice mix of rural, suburban, and exurban developments. Please encourage bike lanes, sidewalks, pedestrian friendly developments, and town centers. The extreme portion of South Augusta could even be linked to Hephzibah with paths allowing for LSV vehicles to become the main vehicle in the area for nearby activities..

Goshen, Bennock Mill, and Mcbean all have the chance to become their own distinct areas(shopping centers, community school, offices, etc) in South Augusta...

InChristLove 02/25/14 - 07:03 am
"Goshen, Bennock Mill, and

"Goshen, Bennock Mill, and Mcbean all have the chance to become their own distinct areas(shopping centers, community school, offices, etc) in South Augusta..."

Can only speak for myself but I like being "countrified" just fine and building up the Peach Orchard/Bobby Jones area is all we need, don't want or need it in my back door.

nocnoc 02/25/14 - 08:31 am
Soon the Augusta Death Road will be NO MORE.

No complaints here.
This is an example of quick fixes gone wrong and allowed to stay wrong too long.

Having dozens of Bad Accidents and few that resulted in deaths, I am happy to wait in traffic delays while they eliminate Augusta's version of the DEATH ROAD. A good friends wife, was injured some years ago and had to live the rest of her life bound to a Wheel chair, because such a wreck.

Thank you Commissioner Guilfoyle for nudging the GA DOT along
and organizing the Community GA-DOT meetings for our input
and to set our expectations.

seenitB4 02/25/14 - 09:22 am
Thank you Commissioner Guilfoyle

I thank him too...I have friends along that has been a nightmare for a long time.

InChristLove 02/25/14 - 09:46 am
I am thankful for what they

I am thankful for what they are doing but when it is finished I sure hope they do more concerning the people driving 70 down this road

countyman 02/25/14 - 12:08 pm

ICL... The infrastructure is located at Peach Orchard/Windsor Spring/I-520 but not the disposable income, new homes, population growth, etc in South Augusta.

The city should be able to create a nice mix of rural, suburban, and exurban developments with all of the vacant land..

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