A stretch of Highway 80 between Statesboro and Brooklet is set for widening now that the Georgia Department of Transportation has awarded Bulloch County a $6.4 million grant.
The grant will focus on 3 miles of Highway 80 (also State Route 26) between Amanda Road just outside of Statesboro and Old Leefield Road near Brooklet, according to a released announcement from state Sen. Jack Hill (R-Reidsville) and state Rep. Jan Tankersley (R-Brooklet).
The project will reconstruct and widen the road, installing passing lanes. Work is expected to begin soon, and a completion date is set for April 2019.
Tankersley said she always tries to secure needs for Bulloch County and is happy with the grant.
"That would be a tremendous expense if it had to come from the county's budget," she said Monday. "This (project) is a great benefit and a tremendous asset for House District 160 and Bulloch County."
Hill also praised the project.
"If you have been on Highway 80 at going-to-work time or coming-home time, you've seen there is a lot of traffic," he said Monday. "The more hectic traffic is, the more people take chances. Installing passing lanes will make travel faster, safer and save lives."
With the increase of traffic from people commuting back and forth between Savannah and Statesboro, the passing lanes are a necessity, he said in the release.
"I commend GDOT for awarding this important contract to Bulloch County. These much needed improvements to our passing lanes will increase motorists' safety," he said. "The additional space on the passing lanes will also ease traffic for those traveling within and throughout the county."
The county government won't be involved in the state-funded project, "although we look upon it favorably," said Bulloch County Manager Tom Couch. "The transportation tax signed a few years ago is really moving (projects like this) along."
Tankersley agreed that the project is necessary due to heavy traffic in the area.
"I'd like to extend my sincerest thanks to GDOT for this generous award," she said. "The businesses and citizens of Bulloch County heavily rely on our transportation network, and these roadway improvements, which are only possible because of GDOT's award, will greatly benefit all our county's commuters."
The projects are part of an award of more than $74.1 million the GDOT granted toward 26 statewide construction projects. The projects were advertised in November, and bids were received on Dec. 15; 25 contracts were awarded on Dec. 29, and one was awarded on Jan. 12.
Herald reporter Holli Deal Saxon may be reached at (912) 489-9414.