Houston County approves contract for U.S. 41 widening

wcrenshaw@macon.comMarch 19, 2013 

WARNER ROBINS -- The long-delayed widening of part of U.S. 41 in Houston County is expected to get started soon.

The Houston County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday approved a $4.6 million contract to widen the road from Watson Boulevard to White Road. Voters approved the funding in the 2006 special purpose local option sales tax, but work has been delayed largely due to issues with acquiring rights of way.

“It’s long overdue,” said Commission Chairman Tommy Stalnaker. “There’s been an awful lot of hurdles to get through.”

After the motion was approved, Stalnaker thanked County Attorney Tom Hall for his work in securing the right-of-way parcels.

“One of the things that slows a project down is right-of-way acquisition, and this has been a real challenge,” Stalnaker said. “He has burned the midnight oil.”

The project will widen the road from two lanes to five, including sidewalks. It will include a traffic light at the Gunn Road intersection. Currently a four-way stop, during times of heavy traffic vehicles back up in all four directions, and it can take a while to get through the intersection.

“I’m one of the citizens who travel on that road, and it’s badly needed,” said Commissioner Jay Walker.

The bid for the project came in under what engineers had estimated, Stalnaker said.

The county received six bids and awarded it to the low bidder, C.W. Matthews.

Also, he said, the Georgia Department of Transportation agreed to put up $1.5 million to relocate utilities and did the design work. Stalnaker said it’s unlikely the state would ever have provided funding toward widening the road without the local dollars provided.

To contact writer Wayne Crenshaw, call 256-9725.

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