The Georgia State Route 67 widening and improvement project in Bulloch County that began almost exactly one year ago is on budget and on schedule for completion in the fall of 2020.
“The 67 project is going great and has given us no surprises as we near the completion of phase one,” said Jill Nagel, communications officer for the Southeast Office of the Georgia Department of Transportation. “We even have seen a good number of positive comments on social media about the progress of the project, which is not very common for many projects.”
Considered a need in Bulloch County since the early 1980s, the $41.1-million project calls for Route 67’s existing two-lane roadway to be rebuilt to four lanes with a 32-foot-wide depressed median for most of the 10.02-mile project length. However, there will be four sections with no medians, but have five lanes with narrower, 14-foot paved center lanes serving as a two-way left-turn lanes.
Nagel said phase one – construction of the new lanes – is about two weeks from completion, at which time all traffic from the current 67 will be “shifted onto the new alignment.”
“We’ll then start on phase two where they will reconstruct the existing alignment on 67,” Nagel said. “In addition to full repaving, new curbs and gutters will be put in. The drainage will be set up in the medians and the ‘bikeable’ shoulders will be added.”
The project section of 67 is part of a Statewide Bicycle Route corridor known as ‘March to the Sea.’ So, to accommodate bicycles, the planned improvements include a 6.5-foot paved shoulder in the rural sections and 4-foot bike lanes in the sections with curb-and-gutter.
Traffic delays due to construction also have been minimal and Nagel credits the traffic control plan submitted by Reeves Construction, the contractor for the 67 project, as working just as designed.
“We are pretty much working on the new alignment for 67 and the old one separately to keep traffic disruption to a minimum,” Nagel said. “When work needs to be done in the median or work on drainage, flagmen do have to stop traffic. But there are no lane closures during peak travel times – 6 to 8 a.m. and 5 to 7 p.m.”
One of the larger individual construction parts of the entire project was the building of a bridge over Woodcock Branch. Nagel said the new bridge is finished and the bridge on the old 67 was only built in 2000 and is fully structurally sound, so it does not need replacing or significant repairs.
Nagel said the recent lack of rain has helped the project stay on track for its fall 2020 scheduled completion, but cautioned the winter months can sometimes play havoc with laying concrete and asphalt.
“Once the temperature gets into the 50- to 55-degree range, asphalt won’t set right and can’t be laid down,” Nagel said. “If we have a typical winter in southeast Georgia, it shouldn’t delay the project at all. If we have a cold winter, then there may be some delay.”
Nagel said the 67 project has been one of the more satisfying ones for her and the DOT staff to work on.
“There clearly is a need,” she said. “Once complete, the new 67 will increase safety for both passenger and commercial vehicles and it will virtually eliminate traffic issues. And the project has gone so smoothly, it has made my job much easier.”