WARNER ROBINS -- State, county, city and school board officials cut the ribbon Wednesday on a long-awaited road widening project on U.S. 41.
Houston County deputies briefly stopped southbound traffic as officials stepped into the roadway to cut the ribbon. The $7 million project widened the 1.5 miles highway from two lanes to four, plus a turning lane, from Watson Boulevard to Thomson Road.
A key beneficiary of the work is Eagle Springs Elementary School, where the ceremony was held.
“I don’t think there is anybody any prouder of this road being complete than the Board of Education because of the traffic conditions that have occurred in this area,” said County Commission Chairman Tommy Stalnaker.
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Prior to the ribbon cutting, he thanked those involved, beginning with the taxpayers. The project was funded by the county’s 2006 special local option sales tax, as well as $1.5 million in state dollars.
Stalnaker said the project is part of $180 million in road work the county has done in the past 10 years. The road separates the city limits of Warner Robins and Centerville. Mayors of both cities as well as the mayor of Perry attended Wednesday’s ceremony.
Several Georgia Department of Transportation officials also attended, and Stalnaker presented them with a ceremonial deed to the road. The county acquired the right of way for the widening and soon will officially transfer the deeds to the state, Stalnaker said.
A centerpiece of the project was adding a traffic light at the intersection of U.S. 41 and Gunn Road. It had been a four-way stop, and traffic would back up during peak hours. The traffic light began working a couple of weeks ago, and officials said traffic has been moving much more smoothly through the intersection. Robbie Dunbar, the county’s operations director, said the road work is the last remaining major project from the 2006 SPLOST. The only other projects left are paving some dirt roads.
Work on the U.S. 41 project began May 14, 2013, and was declared substantially complete on Dec. 11, about five months ahead of schedule.
To contact writer Wayne Crenshaw, call 256-9725.