Last minute changes required by the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) to the intersection of Ga. Highway 16 and Jackson Road/Windy Lane may soon be underway thanks to a declaration of emergency unanimously approved by the Butts County Board of Commissioners Monday night.
The declaration will allow County Manager Steve Layson to free up county and state funds needed to complete the work.
The intersection improvements, which include lengthening turning lanes and a traffic signal, are needed due to the opening of the Dollar General distribution center on Jackson Road, and the increased amount of truck traffic at both the distribution location, the new JP Travel Center, and other businesses in the area.
The turning lanes were initially planned to be 75 feet long and GDOT approved the plans. But when the work was completed in October and GDOT came out to inspect it, Layson said the engineers felt the turning lanes needed to be extended further and refused to turn on the signal lights until the extra work was completed.
“It started with the Dollar General,” said Layson. “They gave us $500,000 and we put in $500,000. That was three years ago and now that we’re getting ready to open the lanes that they (GDOT) looked at, they’ve got two more businesses out there now and they are saying that isn’t going to work. So now we’ve got to get the lanes changed.”
The contractor gave an estimate of $114,000 for the extra work to be done, but the concern was where the money would come from and how long it might take to get the funds available. The declaration of emergency will speed up the process of obtaining the needed money.
“The money will either come from GDOT or SPLOST or a combination,” Layson said. “We’ve had several accidents out there and we’ve got to get it open. The emergency allows me to go through some processes and jump through some hoops that would normally take me a long time to do.”