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City reworking tough intersection
West Main, College streets junction getting wider
A construction crew prepares the intersection of West Main Street and College Street for the addition of storm drains Tuesday as part of efforts to widen the lanes.

Work is under way at the crossroads of College and West Main Streets, in downtown Statesboro, to improve a narrow intersection.
Contractors have begun the early stages of an approximately $674,000 renovation to the street, which the City of Statesboro’s Engineering Department says will create a safer environment for through-traffic.
“We recognized, and have for a while, that there is a problem with the turning radii at the intersection of College Street and West Main,” City Engineer Robert Cheshire said. “All of the corners are just too tight for the type of vehicles that we have today.”
Narrow streets at the busy intersection often force cars into precarious situations when turning, particular tractor trailers or large vans. The city hopes to quell those issues by giving drivers a bit more room.
“The tight corners made turns to the right almost impossible in some cases, for some vehicles,” Cheshire said. “We have obtained rights-of-way, to relocate utility poles farther back from the road, and will put in wider radius turns, and also widen the lanes themselves. The changes will make the crossroads a much more functional intersection.
“It is going to make that intersection a lot easier and safer to navigate,” he said. 
Statesboro City Council voted earlier this year to move forward with the project and contracted Statesboro general contractor Y-Delta Inc. to complete the work. The effort is funded with 2007 SPLOST (Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax) funds.
To make way for wider lanes, workers have already moved utility poles farther from the roads.
“I want to commend Georgia Power, Frontier Communications and Northland Cable for coming in on a Sunday to do that work so we could close roads when traffic was minimal,” Cheshire said.
In coming weeks — about 90 days — workers will upgrade an underground water main, install new drainage systems, and widen lanes.
They will also install new crosswalks and light signal poles, which will tie into a future restoration of West Main Street.
“The decorative signal poles and crosswalks will be identical to those we have in the middle of town and running down Highway 301,” Cheshire said. “It is going to give us a nice decorative intersection and allow us to match up work when we do our West Main streetscape in a couple of years.”
The West Main Street streetscape project will resemble the work done to East Main Street in previous years — including new sidewalk, crosswalks and lighting, and additional trees.
City Engineers hope to minimize road closures while they revamp the West Main and College intersection — a process they hope is completed by July 31, before the new school year begins.
While most closures will occur at night (8 p.m. to 6 a.m.), contractors will be allowed to shut down traffic all day in three four-day increments.
Most likely in late June, West Main could be closed to traffic for four days while a crosswalk is installed. The same is true for College Street, but the two streets would not be closed at the same time, Cheshire said.
In late July, the entire intersection will shut down for as many as four days (Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday) for workers to complete the final grading and paving of roads.
“Hopefully the limitations set will create the least amount of impact for pedestrians and traffic, and minimize the effect on businesses, because we recognize the strain that puts on them,” Cheshire said.

Jeff Harrison may be reached at (912) 489-9454.

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