Jolting jackhammers, glaring orange barrels and traffic inching around a mess of torn-up asphalt will be a familiar sight on at least a few of Augusta's most traveled roads this summer.
Although most cringe at the thought of facing slowed traffic and detours because of road projects, officials say that with a little patience and a cooperative Mother Nature, it will be smooth sailing -- or driving -- in the months to come along what are now bumpy roads.
It will be Thanksgiving at the earliest before residents may see a fresh and smoother Walton Way, what is now a grinding and bumpy drive to and from the Medical College of Georgia area. Once work crews finish the curbing and sidewalks along the street, they will rip out the old Walton Way and lay down a new one.
"Hopefully it will ride like a brand spanking new project," said Robert Clements, assistant preconstruction engineer for Richmond County.
There will be partial lane closures throughout the summer as progress continues on Walton Way. Although there are no plans to close any of the 600-foot stretch that will be under construction, Mr. Clements said a complete road closure can't be ruled out.
"People need to be patient and understanding," he said.
On the up side, residents could be cruising down a newly paved Jackson Road as early as June, weather permitting, Mr. Clements said.
More than 60 streets throughout the county are part of a resurfacing contract, but drivers should see only brief, minor interruptions. Those roads should be completed by the end of the year.
Work on Bobby Jones Expressway is just getting started, and crews will remain primarily in the median for the time being, said Rusty Merritt, area engineer for the state Department of Transportation.
But soon, lanes will be closed, slowing traffic throughout the expressway. The project will widen Interstate 520 and repair bridges.
The Bobby Jones Expressway will be opened, however, in July, he said, from Georgia Highway 56 to Sand Bar Ferry Road.
Richmond County road projects not yet under construction:
-- Cook Road and Glendale subdivision improvements off Olive Road: minor widening, adding curbs, gutters and sidewalks. Scheduled to be let July 2.
-- Forest Park subdivision improvement along Castlewood Drive. Bids to be opened May 26.
-- Hephzibah-McBean and Brothersville roads improvements from Story Mill Road to Mims Road: being widened to three lanes.
-- McCombs Road from Broome Road to Georgia Highway 56: paving and reconstruction.
-- Georgia Highway 56 and Old Waynesboro Road intersection improvements.
-- Highway 56 and Phinizy Road intersection improvements: adding signals and widening the intersection. Bids to be opened May 28.
-- Stevens Creek from Washington Road to Claussen Road: widening to five lanes.
-- Wrightsboro Road at Bobby Jones Expressway: adding turn lanes.
-- Bridge widening on Interstate 20 at Savannah River.
-- Reconstruction at Interstates 20 and 520 interchange.
-- Interstate 20 widening to six lanes from Interstate 520 to the Savannah River Bridge.
-- Bobby Jones Expressway extension from Laney Walker Boulevard to the Savannah River.
-- 15th Street widening from Milledge Road to Government Street.
-- Gordon Highway widening from Georgia Highway 223 to Fort Gordon Gate 1.
-- Reconstruction of median openings on Deans Bridge Road.
-- Addition of westbound loop at Highway 56 and Interstate 520.
-- Reconstruction of interchange at U.S. Highway 1 and Tobacco Road.
-- Bridge replacement on U.S. Highway 1 at Butler Creek.
-- Bridge replacement of CSX Railroad over Olive Road.
-- Bridge replacement on Wheeless Road at Rocky Creek.
-- Bridge replacement on 15th Street at CSX Railroad.
-- Wrightsboro Road widening from Belair Road to Barton Chapel Road.
Richmond County projects already under construction:
-- Barton Chapel Road: intersection and storm drainage improvements.
-- Jackson Road from Wrightsboro Road to Walton Way: laying pipe, building retaining walls, laying water line, curb, gutter and sidewalk.
-- Lakeside subdivision storm drainage improvements.
-- Pepperidge Drive and U.S. Highway 25 intersection improvements.
-- Walton Way reconstruction from 15th Street to Milledge Road: roadway reconstruction, sidewalks, curb and gutter.
-- Reynolds and 13th streets -- inner city basin -- stormwater and sewer separation.
-- Bobby Jones Expressway extension: grading and drainage from New Savannah Road to Laney Walker Boulevard.
Columbia County projects not yet under construction:
-- Gordon Highway from Old Louisville Road to Georgia Highway 223 in Richmond County.
-- Georgia Highway 104 from Cumberland Drive to Rosemont.
-- Fury's Ferry Road widening from River Watch Parkway in Evans to Lock Road in Richmond County.
-- Old Petersburg Road widening from Georgia Highway 104 to Old Evans Road.
-- Flowing Wells Road widening from Interstate 20 to Washington Road in Augusta.
-- Georgia Highway 104 from Halali Road to just east of County Road 515.
-- Baston Road widening from Old Petersburg Road to Fury's Ferry Road.
Columbia County projects already under construction:
-- Intersection improvements at Georgia Highway 388 and Lewiston Road.
-- Intersection improvements at Georgia Highway 338 and 223.
-- Construction on Windsor Spring Road from Meadowbrook Road to Richmond Hill Road.
-- Construction on Tobacco Road from U.S. Highway 1 at Fort Gordon to Windsor Spring Road.
-- Construction on Windsor Spring Road from Tobacco Road to Meadowbrook Drive.
-- Bridge widening on Windsor Spring Road at Butler Creek.
-- Interchange construction at Interstate 20 and Wheeler Road in Columbia County.
Aiken County is getting right-of-way for road improvements but has no definite plans for summer construction, said Phil England, county planning director. No state highway improvements are planned for the immediate future in Aiken County.
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