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Memorial Drive work starting
Ground breaking set for Monday
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The city of Hinesville and its Downtown Development Authority will break ground Monday morning on the long-awaited Memorial Drive realignment.
The ceremony is set for 9 a.m. at Main Street and Washington Avenue, in the vacant lot next to the United Methodist Church. A number of elected officials and dignitaries have been invited.
The realignment project has been in the works since a citizens group in 2000 and a subsequent study by the W.K. Dickson consulting firm "identified the Memorial Drive area as one that needed some serious attention," according to City Manager Billy Edwards.
"They recognized the need for us to do something to address the direction that the Memorial Drive properties were heading in. (The properties) were continuing to decline and it was becoming a blighted area," he said. "And they saw as part of the problem that there was no direct linkage to the Memorial Drive area, specifically the commercial area, with U.S. 84."
So to both rejuvenate the area's economic outlook and create more traffic flow downtown, city officials undertook the realignment project to attract residents and give them easier access to the downtown commercial district.
DDA Director Vicki Davis said the first two phases of the project, which will run from Highway 84 to Rebecca Street near Lamas Cleaners, will begin construction the week of April 26 and should take approximately 18 months to complete.
She said both phases would be worked on simultaneously "because that is going to be the best use of (the city's) resources."
And while there will be traffic disturbances during construction, Davis added "for most of the time it is going to be drivable and usable."
"We're going to be starting at the highway...We are not going to be cutting off through-traffic except for a very minimal time when we need to," she said. "And we're working with all the businesses in that area to make sure that they are accessible as well."
The cost for the two phases is approximately $3.3 million, which includes putting utility lines underground, Edwards said.
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