Improvements for Barrington Ferry Road appear to be more certain, as the Georgia Department of Transportation recently committed $500,000 to the project.
Liberty County engineer Trent Long reported the news last week to the board of commissioners, which, in December, authorized him to apply for the GDoT Local Maintenance and Improvement Grant, or LMIG, Program.
The commitment was “pretty close” to what the county requested, Long said. “We went up asking for roughly $665,000. We were committing $100,000 of this year’s LMIG funds to this project and $165,000 from our next year’s LMIG funds to the project.”
There still are studies and designs that need to be completed before drivers are affected.
“It will be this time next year before we see any road closures or any kind of construction going on on the road,” Long said. Meanwhile, small patches of the road may be repaired.
“When we do have some road closures, it will only be at the bridge. Anybody that lives on that road will have continued access to their house,” he added.
The project includes widening, full-depth reclamation, resurfacing, bridge replacement and intersection improvements.
Planners also will examine the geometry of the intersection at Barrington Ferry and Lewis Frasier roads with Highway 17, Long said.
The project ties in to the proposed Hinesville Bypass, which would have received funding under T-SPLOST if the tax had been enacted. However, since funding for the planned bypass is not in place, planners have modified the plan, Long said.
In paperwork presented to the board, Long refers to the project as the 119 Freight Connector.
“The 119 Freight Connector Alternate would incorporate several separate projects into one comprehensive route to shift freight around Hinesville, Flemington, Allenhurst, Walthourville and Riceboro,” the memo said.
The project would unfold in three stages, beginning with Barrington Ferry Road improvements.
Stage two is the western leg, which is approximately 4.8 miles long with 4.63 miles of “new location.” It would begin at Oglethorpe Highway a half-mile south of State Road 119, just beyond the city limits of Walthourville in Long County. It would cross over the CSX rail line and continue on new roadways to tie in with State Road 119 near Holmestown Road, about one mile south of Walthourville city limits.
“I don’t have a timeframe I can give you on that,” he said about stage two. Planners are in the design process.
Long’s memo proposes several funding sources for stage two, which is projected to cost $5.5 million.
The third stage does not have funding identified but would improve the existing State Road 119 over 6.9 miles between the two stages.
“At the conclusion of stage three, Liberty County would propose to have SR 119 from the intersection of Barrington Ferry Road to U.S. 17 (1.4 miles) removed from the State Route System and the reconstructed Barrington Ferry Road (1.7 miles) be added,” the memo said. “This arrangement would preserve the oak-lined segment of SR 119 in Riceboro and remove the heavy truck traffic from city proper.”