Local leaders sat down with Georgia DOT District Planning and Programming Engineer Christa McKinney Tuesday to talk about some of the ongoing McDuffie County road projects, including the upcoming construction of the east bypass and the Three Points interchange.
Officials have spent a lot of time preparing for the bypass, which is scheduled to cost $26.2 million with construction still a few years away.
"We still have some more money to get. Acquiring right of way is still underway. We're looking at construction in (2006)," said Ms. McKinney.
Officials hope that the bypass will not only provide faster access to I-20 for thru-traffic, but will also alleviate some of the congestion problems in downtown Thomson.
"That should help a lot with the trucks coming into town," said McDuffie County Road Department Director Chris Pelly.
Construction on the Three Points interchange, which will give McDuffie County its third exit along I-20, is scheduled to start as early as later this year. When completed, this $11.4 million project will tie in to the west bypass when it's eventually completed several years down the road.
County Commission Chairman Charlie Newton said he was pleased with how things are progressing.
"I think everything right now is (good)...Everyone I talk to say the economy is good. Maybe we'll see more funding in the future."
During the meeting, Mr. Newton also brought up the idea of installing a traffic light on West Hill Street to allow Thomson Elementary buses easier access to the school.
However, that section of the road is under the city's jurisdiction and would need to be addressed by the Thomson city council.
Other projects on tap include the widening of Georgia 17/US 78 in northern McDuffie County. The affected 17 miles of highway will be widened to become four lanes.
Additionally, about six miles south of Wilkes County, the highway will be equipped with turn lanes. Up until that point, the 12 miles of widened highway will have a grass median. The widening will cost about $26.2 million, and construction is scheduled to get underway sometime in 2007.
Dearing is also not being left out of the road improvements loop -- the bridge at Headstall Creek on US 221 is scheduled to be replaced in 2007 for about $1.25 million.