COLUMBIA COUNTY, Ga. (WJBF) – The Hereford Farm Rd. widening project is slowly getting underway.
Columbia County Commission agreed to accept more money from GDOT for their project framework agreement.
This major intersection will begin right here at the intersection of Hereford Farm Rd. and N. Belair Rd. It will end at the intersection of Columbia Rd. and Hereford Farm Rd. It’s going to take a two-lane road and turn it into four.
Columbia County’s Deputy County Manager, Matt Schlachter, says, “people are concerned. We’ve had people tell us, you know, I’ve lived here my whole life, don’t put this road through here, and we understand that. Unfortunately, we’re growing. We have to accommodate the traffic.”
The county is trying to provide relief from those bumper-to-bumper rush hour times. They are working with GDOT to do so. A lot of their funding so far has been funneled through the Metropolitan Planning Organization or MPO.
“So, the design portion of this project was funneled through that group,” says Schlachter, “but we had to do a match. So we had to put up $200,000 to get an additional million for that design.”
Overall, there’s 2.5 million dollars going into design. Of that amount, 200,000 are taxpayer dollars and 2.3 million is coming from the state through the MPO.
“There’s a lot of behind the scenes that happens first. You got to get your concept put together. You got to do traffic stuff. You gotta figure out what you got to have. So, then you start putting conceptual designs together. So, you can start having public meetings to show the public what you’re thinking about doing,” says Schlachter.
That’s where the county is at right now. They are finishing up their designs and hoping to present them to the public by the end of February.
“We do want to hear input. We want to hear the input of the neighbors. We have to balance the input of the neighbors that are living along that road with the federal requirements we have to follow because of the money we are spending,” says Schlachter.
If voters vote against the proposed TSPLOST list in the March elections there’s a hold on the project.
“All we’ve done is work on design. So the plans will sit on shelf until funding is available. So, if the citizens vote no then the plans get shelved,” says Schlachter.
If voters vote in favor of the proposed TSPLOST list in the 2020 elections, construction is expected to begin in 2023.
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