A Macon transportation committee is looking to prevent a railroad bridge project from delaying the long-anticipated widening of Jeffersonville Road.
Jeffersonville Road dominated Wednesday's Macon Area Transportation Study Policy Committee discussions as members reviewed the planned road construction of a 2.3-mile stretch of the highway. That stretch of road is from Emery Highway to U.S. 80, officials said.
Committee members talked about whether a plan to move a railroad track off a nearby dam would slow down the start of the project, said Bibb County Commissioner Scotty Shepherd, who serves as the policy committee's vice chairman.
Improvements along Jeffersonville Road have been in discussion for two decades, but it has faced numerous challenges.
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The Macon-Bibb County Planning and Zoning Commission will meet with the Georgia Department of Transportation about the railroad line that crosses the Lakeside Reservoir Dam, said Jim Thomas, the planning commission's executive director and the MATS project director.
A relocation of the rail line is part of the second phase of the Jeffersonville Road project, but MATS members on Wednesday voted to have that relocation project eliminated if it hinders the progress of Jeffersonville Road, according to several county leaders.
Macon-Bibb County Mayor Robert Reichert said GDOT may try to change the project from two phases into one. That would mean more studies are needed to be performed before any work can begin, he said.
"If they do, I'm scared to death it's going to delay for a long time" the project's start, Reichert said following Wednesday's meeting.
Last May, Reichert said he wanted construction to begin by August 2016.
The target date now is November if the project receives its final OKs from environmental assessments, said County Engineer Dave Fortson.
Shepherd said it's important to start the Jeffersonville Road upgrades as quickly as possible because residents near the area "have been suffering for years, so we've got to do something for them."
Information from The Telegraph archives was used in this report. To contact writer Stanley Dunlap, call 744-4623 or find him on Twitter@stan_telegraph.