Proposed road extension may take regional cooperation

A potential extension to Sardis Church Road could stretch past Interstate 16 to Ga. 57 and Ga. 49 if other counties get on board with the project, transportation officials said Thursday.

While the extension, also called the Sgoda Road extension, is “just a line on the map at this point,” other neighboring counties may want to get involved if they see a benefit in the project, Jim Thomas of the Macon-Bibb County Planning & Zoning Commission said at a meeting of the Macon Area Transportation Study Policy Committee.

Several surrounding counties, including Houston and Twiggs, will be invited to meet with the policy committee this spring to talk about whether such a project would be feasible or desirable, the committee decided.

“It seems to me to make sense that with what we’ve got, we try to get some other regional people involved,” said Bibb Commission Chairman Sam Hart, who was elected vice chairman of the policy committee Thursday.

Plans to build a new Interstate 75 interchange at Sardis Church Road already are in the process. Last week, Macon Mayor Robert Reichert expressed support for extending Sardis Church Road south of the Middle Georgia Regional Airport and north of Robins Air Force Base to I-16 at Sgoda Road.

“I think this concept of regional development is fabulous,” Reichert, chairman of the policy committee, said about a possible regional approach. “That’s what we’ve been trying to do for a long time.”

Extending Sardis Church Road from Ga. 247 to I-16 could cost $130 million to $150 million, according to estimates presented to the policy committee.

The road would span nearly seven miles of land, including about three and one-half miles of wetlands. Thirty-one homes would be impacted.

Supporters of the project say the road would open up new land for development, create another bridge that crosses the Ocmulgee River and divert truck traffic out of downtown.

The new route also would more directly connect the airport, Savannah’s international port and the planned G-RAMP development at Robins Air Force Base, they say.

Information from The Telegraph’s archives was used in this report. To contact writer Jennifer Burk, call 744-4345.