Final hurdle cleared to begin Jeffersonville Road work

pramati@macon.comDecember 11, 2013 

It’s taken about a quarter century, but the way has finally been cleared for much-needed roadwork on Jeffersonville and Millerfield roads in east Bibb County.

Bibb County Commission Chairman Sam Hart announced Wednesday morning that he signed an agreement with the Georgia Department of Transportation that says the county will purchase a key right of way for $2 million, then get reimbursed by the DOT on a quarterly basis.

Hart said the right of way was the final hurdle preventing the DOT from doing the roadwork.

“We’re announcing that we’re bringing the beginning to the end of a situation that has been in this community for 25 years,” Hart said. “The people deserve it. ... The community wanted this road in place.”

State Sen. David Lucas, D-Macon, and Bibb County Commissioner Lonzy Edwards joined Hart for the announcement.

Lucas said the roadwork will cover the section of Millerfield Road that intersects with Jeffersonville Road, as well as the segment of Jeffersonville Road from where it splits off from Emery Highway to where it joins U.S. 80.

“I’m happy to see it happen,” Lucas said. “What we’ve encountered is more than we thought we would over the years.”

Lucas said obstacles have included everything from a historic home that was blocking roadwork to environmental issues with nearby railroad tracks and a dam. The right of way was the final piece of the puzzle.

“It’s been a long thing to try to get this done,” he said.

Edwards, whose district includes the Jeffersonville Road area, has long championed trying to get something done with the road. He said “you almost need a boat” to travel along the road when it rains because it’s in such terrible shape.

With the current commission in office for just three more weeks before consolidation, Edwards said it is important to get the deal signed so the new government would have everything in place and not risk further delays.

He said much of the area has suffered with blighted properties and crime because there’s been no development in that part of Bibb County.

“Hopefully, this will allow the road to get completed in our lifetime,” he said. “I regret it’s taken this long, but I believe it will be worth the wait.”

To contact writer Phillip Ramati, call 744-4334.

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