The SPLOST V committee met at Ola Elementary this week to discuss projects for commission district III. The district is represented by Commissioner Gary Barham and includes much of McDonough and Ola.
Recent SPLOST improvements have included turn lanes along state route 81, roundabouts at SR 20 / East Lake Road and Lake Dow Road / Rodgers / Rosser Roads, and expanding North Ola Park. The long awaited Campground Road extension will open up by year end, weather permitting.
Many residents had questions about the ongoing project to widen highway 81. SPLOST IV funded preliminary engineering to design the future widening between Postmaster Drive and Bethany Road. Henry County is utilizing federal funds to complete the project, and earlier this year, was awarded $6 million to assist with right of way acquisition in 2020. The SPLOST V committee will budget funds to cover the local match on right of way acquisition and construction. If the federal funding continues to be available for the project, construction could start as soon as 2022.
The committee will also consider preliminary engineering for SR 81 widening from Bethany Road to Keys Ferry Road. Discussions with Georgia DOT have shown a need to widen the highway past the Ola schools and this would be a step in that direction. Road widening projects on state highways take about seven years to complete from the first pencil on paper through right of way acquisition to construction and utility relocation.
East Lake Road was another major focus for the evening. The roadway between state routes 20 and 155 will be considered for preliminary engineering towards a future widening. This would continue the four-lane corridor built by previous SPLOST projects along Hudson Bridge Road, Eagles Landing Parkway, and East Lake Parkway.
Improving intersections is a priority for the SPLOST V committee, not only to reduce delays but also to improve roadway safety. Many residents have voiced a need to improve East Lake at Airline and I anticipate the intersection to be included on the final project list. Also proposed for consideration are East Lake at Elliot Road and East Lake at Rowan Drive. Funding the intersection improvements will provide relief to motorists now as the county works towards the future four-lane widening project.
The proposed extension of the Henry County SPLOST program will be decided by voters in November 2019. If approved, the SPLOST V program will continue the existing tax collections for an additional six years through March 31, 2025.