Those who frequently commute to Liberty County, or from Hinesville to Savannah should be pleased with Tuesday’s opening of all lanes on State Road 196.
Since October 2006, the corridor between Highways 84 and 17 has been under construction, said Craig Solomon, a Georgia Department of Transportation communications officer.
The widening project starts at U.S. 17/S.R. 25 and extends all the way to U.S. 84/S.R. 38, a well-traveled route for those heading to Savannah.
Kevin Weitman, who was the project engineer for the road, said the nine-mile road opened Tuesday at around 5 p.m. after workers removed reflective barrels and other obstruction materials from the roadways.
Even 40-hour work weeks weren’t enough to complete the project by the original May 31, 2008 deadline, Weitman said.
As a project manager, he saw poor weather and utility relocation issues that prevented crew members from finishing the project on time.
The four-year project includes three additional projects and cost the federal government almost $40 million, Solomon said.
Residents can expect some other changes on that same drive including a bridge over Baker Swamp, realignment of S.R. 196 and an intersection project.
Although the four lanes are now open for travel, the side projects will likely be completed in the next three to six months, Solomon said.
The communications officer said he also understands the frustration of residents who have been traveling on the single lanes to and from work daily.
“There are gonna be a lot of positives that come out of this,” Solomon promised. “When we get this completed, it is gonna get everything flowing.”