Georgia DOT is now accepting comments on the widening of state route 81 through Monday, January 11, 2021. The project extends between Postmaster Drive and Bethany Road for a distance of 3.02 miles.
The project plans to widen the existing two-lane highway to a four-lane median-divided section. It will include the addition of a five-foot sidewalk on one side of the road and a ten-foot shared-use path on the other side. Notable features include the construction of a roundabout at state route 81 and Postmaster Drive, and the modification of the existing signal at Racetrack Road to remove left-hand turn access from the side street to SR 81 westbound. The segment between Racetrack Road and Old Jackson Road has the highest traffic volumes on the corridor — over 25,000 vehicles per day in 2016 — and the signal modification will support dual right-hand turning lanes onto SR 81 eastbound.
After reviewing the concept layout and information below, comments about the project may be submitted to the state here. Georgia DOT will provide a response approximately thirty days after the close of the comment period on January 11, 2021. The state’s virtual open house is available here.
About the Project
Preliminary engineering on the widening project started in August 2016. Design costs have totaled $1,955,240 paid with $1.2 million in federal transportation funds and the remainder through SPLOST IV collections.
Right of way acquisition is scheduled to begin in November 2021, affecting an estimated 118 properties with one displacement. The anticipated displacement is for a 1958 structure located across from Publix at Lake Dow. ROW acquisition is funded through six million dollars in federal funds and the difference from SPLOST V collections. The project is cost-shared 50 / 50 between commission districts I and III.
The letting of construction — estimated to cost $21.6 million — is dependent upon the work being selected for federal transportation dollars. Henry County applied for the funding in October 2019; however, the Atlanta Regional Commission has delayed its funding recommendations because of uncertainties in future federal funding levels. The recommendations are expected in 2021.
If federal funding is received, the project is estimated to let for construction in February 2024. Construction is expected to last two years.
Henry County budgeted $400,000 in SPLOST V to provide a local match towards design work for state route 81 widening, phase II, from Bethany Road to Keys Ferry. Total costs for the second project were previously estimated at $33 million.