Although less than nine miles long, the new Thomson Bypass, which currently is under construction, is described as a "major" project - one that will forever change certain landscape in McDuffie County.
"We're moving forward with the project, even though we've got some issues," says Georgia Department of Transportation Area Engineer Corbett S. Reynolds.
One of the biggest issues of late has involved utility relocation along White Oak Road in front of Thomson High School, Mr. Reynolds said during a recent telephone interview from his office in Louisville.
He explained that the utility issues have actually been related to scheduling conflicts more than anything else.
"We've been working around the situation as best possible," Mr. Reynolds said.
Right now, GDOT work crews are working to fulfill an agreement with officials of the McDuffie County School System to incorporate new driveways for the new Thomson-McDuffie Junior High School, located across from Thomson High School.
The new school is expected to be completed in July with students attending classes there in August.
Mr. Reynolds said he hopes that some of the issues encountered thus far with the project will be resolved soon.
A number of workers from Georgia Power Company and AT & T are involved in that aspect of the project, Mr. Reynolds said.
With any construction project, it's typical to run into a few problems, the GDOT official explained.
Another snag of late, which is causing some delay, is at least three structures that have to be moved from where the new highway is being made, according to Jack Trude, general superintendent with Reeves Construction Company of Macon.
Mr. Trude said the problems of utility relocation and the structures having to be removed are the biggest concerns that have confronted his workers on the project to date.
Another dilemma has involved swampy or boggy areas - low places that have hampered work crews with the construction company that was awarded the multi-million dollar contract from GDOT officials.
Currently, Mr. Trude said, there are between 30 and 40 construction workers assigned to work on the new Thomson Bypass, which is scheduled for completion in 2010.
The road project involves the installation of eight bridges, stretching across either creeks or roadways - the more massive ones crossing over Interstate 20 near the Thomson interchange.
The new Thomson Bypass, as it is being called by GDOT officials, has resulted in many significant changes in the landscape that begins at the intersection of the Wrens Highway and Wire Road and goes to Harrison Road before crossing over the Augusta Highway and over White Oak Road and along portions of Dallas Drive and crossing I-20 before reconnecting north onto Georgia Highway 17.
Along Harrison Road, the new Thomson Bypass which will be four-laned, will cut across residential and farmland property. Areas once covered in trees are now barren - the result of massive pulp wood operations the last several weeks along the pathway that will someday become a major bypass around Thomson.