Renaissance Augusta

From company expansions to bigger, better roads, the area’s rocking

Tired of winning?

 

We thought not.

Fact is, the Augusta area is on a roll like never before.

The state recently broke ground on a $60-million cybersecurity center on the river, two new downtown hotels are under way, 901 Broad is being returned to its 19th-Century grandeur (except with retail and loft space) and more.

North Augusta, S.C., just across the river from downtown Augusta, is building a new state-of-the-art minor league baseball stadium for the Augusta Greenjackets, along with a complex of retail, restaurant, office and residential space.

And recently, Starbucks announced its Augusta plant, barely the age of five, is already being nearly doubled in size in a $120 million expansion that will create 100 more new jobs.

And while it’s not as alluring as new buildings or as exciting as new jobs, the area’s infrastructure is undergoing a gradual renaissance. Fueled in large part by a one-cent transportation tax we imposed on ourselves several years ago, roads are being widened, smoothened and lighted.

Roads are being upgraded from Calhoun Expressway downtown to Windsor Spring and Deans Bridge Road in south Augusta to Washington Road and the Riverwatch Parkway extension in Columbia County.

Most recently, the Georgia Department of Transportation last week released design plans for a $75 million updated, upgraded and widened I-20 bridge over the Augusta Canal and Savannah River between Georgia and South Carolina.

Again, a bridge may not be sexy, but it’s incredibly vital. For one thing, they’re invaluable to day-to-day commerce and even national defense: Consider that one of the first things an air force targets for destruction in wartime is the enemy’s bridges. And an average of over 60,000 vehicles use the pair of two-lane I-20 bridges each day, and experts say that will increase to 87,000 a day in the next 20 years.

Good thing they’re taking the bridges, which date to 1964, from a total of four lanes and no shoulders to six lanes and paved shoulders in each direction. As part of the project, I-20 will be widened from four to six lanes from Riverwatch Parkway to Exit 1 in South Carolina.

All of these infrastructure projects help create the conditions for further growth in the private sector.

Besides the very welcome news from Starbucks, Automatic Data Processing last month cut the ribbon on its $20 million, 60,000 square foot expansion of office and parking space.

We sincerely hope you’re not tired of winning, Augusta.

You’re going to be experiencing a lot of it in the coming years.

 

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