Governor Brian P. Kemp today announced the availability of $277 million in Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act 2021 (CRRSAA) funds to the Georgia Department of Transportation (Georgia DOT) to fill in projected revenue gaps caused by the impacts of COVID-19. The CRRSAA was passed by Congress in December 2020.
These additional funds allow Georgia DOT flexibility to advance several strategic transportation improvements in predominantly rural areas in Jefferson, Jasper, Putnam, Upson, and Barrow Counties. Most of these investments will be on the State’s freight network, which are corridors that play a vital role in moving agriculture commodities, manufacturing inputs, and consumer goods between production, distribution, and retail locations in all areas of Georgia. These projects were previously in Georgia DOT’s outer-year delivery plans but will begin construction a cumulative total of 13 years early, advancing the safety and freight reliability benefits they will provide.
“I am thankful for these one-time federal resources that will help keep Georgians working while also keeping our economy on the road to recovery,” said Governor Kemp. “Georgia DOT will be able to further enhance the state roadway network to increase safety for motorists and trucks by advancing critical projects throughout the state. These important roadway improvements will help Georgia continue to be the top state for business thanks to a world-class logistics infrastructure. Both the freight and logistics industry and Georgia residents benefit from this much-needed funding, particularly in light of the challenges of COVID-19.”
“Even during a global pandemic, Georgia DOT remains committed to delivering on our obligation to the citizens and businesses of Georgia,” said Mr. Rudy Bowen, Chair of the State Transportation Board. “The supplemental COVID response funds will help ensure our ability to maintain and grow the country’s tenth-largest transportation network. We are grateful to Governor Kemp and our nation’s leaders for helping ensure Georgia DOT has the resources it needs to deliver on our commitment.”
“The Jefferson County Board of Commissioners greatly appreciates Governor Kemp and the Georgia DOT for their continued support for transportation and economic improvements throughout our state,” said Jefferson County Commission Chair Mitchell McGraw. “The expansion of US 1 and State Route 4 make vital enhancements to the roadway network in Jefferson County. These modifications ensure that our safety measures and logistical needs are not only met but exceeded.”
“I appreciate Governor Kemp’s recognition for crucial transportation developments in Georgia,” said Representative Susan Holmes. “The bypass project alleviates growing traffic concerns throughout the city of Monticello and ensures that the distribution of consumer goods continues within our state.”
“As the city of Braselton continues to grow, the expansion of State Route 211 is crucial to our economic development,” said Representative Terry England. “I commend Governor Kemp and the Georgia DOT for recognizing our need and allocating the resources for these improvements.”
“I appreciate Governor Kemp for recognizing the need for changes in transportation safety and providing the proper funds needed to make these changes,” said Senator John Kennedy. “The funds provided to Upson County will help alleviate safety concerns and improve traffic flow in a highly congested area. It is clear that Governor Kemp continues to keep the safety and prosperity of Georgians at the forefront of his mind.”
Specific projects that will be advanced due to supplemental COVID response funds include:
• Jefferson County: This project expands US 1/State Route 4 from two to four lanes as part of the statewide freight network. Trucks account for nearly one-fourth of traffic in the corridor. The project is north of Louisville from Mennonite Church Road to State Route 540. The Central Savannah River Area Region supported the project by contributing $2 million in Transportation Investment Act (TIA) funds, passed by the 2020 referendum. The investments accelerate the project from an anticipated construction start date in late 2024 to mid 2021. The Kings Mill Commerce Park, a certified Georgia Ready for Accelerated Development (GRAD) site is located less than a mile from the project corridor. According to the Development Authority of Jefferson County, this GRAD site is fully equipped to accommodate various modes of utilities and transportation connectivity. The estimated construction cost is $32 million with a total investment of $42 million.
• Jefferson County – This project will expand US 1 from two lanes to four lanes south of Louisville for six miles. Trucks make up nearly one-fourth of traffic on this corridor, and it is on the State’s freight network. The project is from north of Nimrod Road to Louisville Bypass – between the towns of Wadley and Louisville. The Central Savannah River Area Region supported this project by contributing $3 million in TIA funds, passed by the 2020 referendum. The estimated construction cost is $38 million with a total investment of $44 million. The investments accelerate the project from a proposed construction start date in late 2026 to mid 2021.
• Jasper County – This project will build a new three-mile bypass around the city of Monticello connecting State Route 16 to State Route 83. It is forecast to reduce current truck traffic through the city by 10 to 20 percent. The estimated cost of construction is $19 million with a total investment of $22 million. The investment accelerates the project from a construction start date in late 2022 to mid 2021.
• Putnam County – This project will expand US 441 from two lanes to four lanes for nine miles north of Eatonton. Trucks account for nearly one-fifth of traffic in the corridor which is on the state freight network. The estimated construction cost is $54 million with a total investment of $69 million. The investments accelerate the project from a proposed construction start date in late 2022 to late 2021.
• Barrow County – This project will expand State Route 211 from I-85 west one mile from two lanes to four lanes including installation of roundabouts. It will provide traffic congestion relief for over 22,000 vehicles per day in a growing suburban area of Braselton. The City of Braselton is funding design of the project. The estimated construction cost is $12 million with a total investment of $14 million. The investments accelerate the project from an anticipated construction start date in late 2023 to mid 2022.
• Upson County – This project will upgrade four intersections in downtown Thomaston along State Route 74/State Route 36, including the reconfiguration of an existing five-legged intersection at Main St./Bethels St./Barnesville Highway. This project will increase safety while improving traffic flow and operations in the city. The estimated cost of construction is $3.3 million with a total investment of $6 million. The investments accelerate the project from an anticipated construction start date in late 2023 to late 2021.
The remaining supplemental COVID response funds will be used toward capital resurfacing and rehabilitation on Georgia’s state routes and interstate highways, replacing state funds that were previously budgeted. According to the most recent infrastructure report card by the American Society of Civil Engineers, road maintenance matters – driving on roads with good or fair pavement condition saves each driver more than $500 per year in extra vehicle repairs and operating costs. A key foundational strategy in Georgia DOT’s Statewide Strategic Transportation Plan is maintaining State-owned roadways with a target of 88 percent remaining in good or fair condition over the next 30 years. This translates to a smooth ride, less noise, lower vehicle operating and repair costs, and lower costs of doing business.