The Georgia Department of Transportation announced $50 million in new highway construction projects on Wednesday, one of them in Walton county.
A $4.1 million project to widen 1.5 miles of State Route 138/Charlotte Rowell Boulevard in Walton County was awarded to Pittman Construction Company, of Conyers.
According to Jim Bronough, vice president and chief engineer of Pittman Construction Company, the plan is to widen Highway 138 from the Spring Street intersection at Walmart in Monroe, under Highway 78, and then redirect it to connect with Double Springs Church Road and back onto Highway 11.
“They are trying to relieve the congestion where it intersects with Highway 11 where there are no traffic lights,” Bronough said. “Traffic coming through from Conyers and heading out onto Highway 11 to Winder has to get onto Highway 11 from 78 at that intersection. This will bring them back onto Highway 11 further up, by the school.”
The intersection at Highway 11 has long been a concern for motorists trying to make a left turn. There have been calls for a traffic light, but GDOT officials said it did not meet the criteria necessary to qualify for one. This was highlighted again last year when 79-year-old was killed at that intersection on the way to visit his wife at the nursing home in Monroe. Moore was attempting to make a left turn onto Highway 11 after exiting from Highway 78. At that time, from the Highway 78 exit ramps and should help alleviate the problem.
Bronough said construction on the project was expected to begin before the end of the year.
“We hope to start the first part of November, clearing and cutting trees, putting up some signs and we have to build a culvert,” Bronough said. “We should start the heavy stuff - the grading - in the spring.”
Bronough said part of the work required widening of the existing roadway and the rest would be new construction to connect with Double Springs Church Road and out onto Highway 11.
The project is slated for completion by Sept. 30, 2014.