(Note: The following is part of a series of articles looking at the growth of roads and transportation in Georgia and Bulloch County beginning in 1807.)
By 1860, the state of Georgia had basic standards for its roads: all roads must be cleared of trees and bushes, with overhanging limbs being cut so as not to inconvenience horse or carriage-men; the remaining stumps must be cut as close to the ground as possible; and the carriage track must be at least 5 feet, 6 inches wide.
In a 1910 report on Georgia’s highways, S.W. McCallie, the state geologist, stated there were already 81,182 miles of public roadways in Georgia. About 900 miles of those roads were in Bulloch County.
Of the “highly-improved roads,” 3,421 miles were surfaced with a sand-clay mixture, 554 miles were surfaced with stone, 502 miles with chert and gravel and 56 miles with shells. In Bulloch County, 50 miles of roads were surfaced with the sand-clay mixture.
There were another 13,156 miles of non-surfaced roads in the state, which had been scraped or graded. These were maintained in 107 of Georgia’s 146 counties by a total of 4,579 convicts. As many as 40 of those convicts maintained Bulloch’s roads.
In 1914, Georgia began constructing its portion of the nation’s first major southern roadway, known as the Washington to Atlanta Road. This highway covered 1,038 miles when completed and passed through 49 counties in Virginia, the Carolinas and Georgia.
In 1916, Georgia’s second major highway was begun. Running from the Altamaha River to the city of Macon, its 102 miles of roadbed were constructed of either sand or clay. Now known as U.S. Highway 25 in Bulloch County, it was one of the original federal highways established by the United States Joint Board on Interstate Highways plan in 1925.
From the beginning, U.S. 25 started in the city of Port Huron (later extended to Port Austin) in Michigan. By the time it reached its final destination at the Georgia state line in North Augusta, U.S. Highway 25 covered 1,100 miles.
As for the southern part of Highway 25, it changed as well. In 1929, Georgia extended the southern end of U.S. 25 to the Hopeulikit junction, a few miles northwest of Statesboro. The next year, it was exte-nded to Savannah.
In 1936, U.S. 25 headed even farther south to Brunswick, also bearing the U.S. 341 designation between Jesup and Brunswick, where they merged with U.S. 17.
“GRIP,” or the “Governor's Road Impr-ovement Program,” was passed into law in 1989 by the General Assembly and consists of 19 four-lane highways that will connect 95 percent of Georgia’s largest cities.
U.S. Highway 25 is one of Bulloch County's GRIP roads and part of the Savannah River Parkway sub-corridor. This parkway (much of which is already completed), runs from Augusta and Savannah by way of Waynesboro, Millen and Sylvania.
Roger Allen is a local lover of history. Allen provides a brief look each week at the area's historical past. Email Roger at email@example.com.