The flow of traffic is normal activity for Columbia County, specifically around I-20 and Wheeler Road.
However, normal traffic could increase after Bass Pro Shop opens its doors. The local option transportation sales tax- or T-SPLOST is going to help relieve some of the traffic congestion this retail destination could cause.
Road and Construction division director Matt Schlachter says, "Several years ago we started the process of identifying major needs for transportation for the T-SPLOST the Transportation Improvement Act. Flowing Wells Road is one of the areas we looked at. I met with the Georgia Department of Transportation this morning to discuss this project. Since their announcement, we want to make sure we work quickly to get these projects done."
Schlachter says the plan is to add a turning lane on Wheeler Road right off of I-20, expand Mason McKnight Parkway -- also adding a turning lane and widen Flowing Wells Road. But, this comes with a high price tag and property negotiations.
He explains, “They've send me some information, we have some agreements we have to sign off on with the Georgia Department of Transportation to get the funding approved. The voters have already voted on it, it's been approved were just trying to speed the process up now that Bass Pro has made their announcement.”
T-SPLOST Money for the project will not be available until 2016, but Schlachter says tapping into the county funds until the state can reimburse, may have to happen.
The Bass Pro Shop is expected to open either the Fall of 2014 or Spring of 2015. The Columbia County Road and Maintenance Division are working to get the project completed as soon as possible. Right now, it's in phase two- out-of -three.