Valdosta Daily Times

Local News

July 12, 2014

Overpass still ahead of schedule

VALDOSTA — Almost gone are the days of unexpected detours, the twisting and turning through traffic barrels, and the train delays along Hill Avenue ... almost gone, not yet, but possibly sooner than expected.

The U.S. 84 overpass construction is three months ahead of schedule.

This project was expected to take 18 months, cost $9.7 million, and be completed on Dec. 31, but construction is moving faster than scheduled.

“It is ahead of schedule. It’s about three months ahead of schedule. But because it is construction that can always change. We hope it doesn’t change,” said Nita Birmingham, Georgia Department of Transportation’s district communications officer.

The GDOT has not estimated a completion date, but transportation officials are fairly certain that it will be completed before Dec. 31.

“It is supposed to be completed by the end of December, but the project manager is saying that it should be completed by the fall, but again because it is construction, so anything can happen,” Birmingham said. “If we get a lot of bad weather then that can put them behind, or if they run into any other problems that could put them behind, too. We’re just going to have to play it by ear.”

Residents have been anxiously awaiting completion of the Hill Avenue overpass because it will allow traffic to flow smoothly over the train tracks. It was not uncommon for motorists to be stopped at the train tracks on Hill Avenue anywhere from five to 20 minutes.

The overpass begins near West Street on U.S. Highway 84 and extends nearly to Briggs Street. It is not only expected to eliminate the train delays for motorists, it will help with public safety response times.

“It will improve our response times for our police officers and our ambulances,” said City Manger Larry Hanson. “The overpass will open the area up, so the public safety service can be provided as needed and it keeps traffic flowing as well.”

Construction has not had any significant issues, “just the usual little construction hiccups here and there,” Birmingham said.

Reames and Son Construction is the company working on the project. Upcoming projects on the overpass are the frontage roads which will run parallel to the overpass; asphalt should be laid in the next few weeks; they will start to put in a raised median on the east end approach to the bridge to separate traffic as it goes onto the bridge; the fencing on the bridge.

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