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Get a move on 196 widening project
The Highway 196 widening project in Liberty County has been under way for quite some time. - photo by Photo provided.
Editor, While driving to Keller’s Flea Market on Saturday, July 10, my husband and I were driving the nine-mile stretch that is always under construction, also known as Liberty County’s 196 widening project.  
We saw the workers poking along, as they have been since at least 2003, and my husband and I looked at each other in complete disbelief that it had been so many years since the job was started — and it still is not finished.  We both wondered aloud the same question: Why does it take years to pave nine miles of flat roadway?  
Figuring in ample time for bad weather, drainage problems, etc., it should never take seven-plus years to completely rebuild nine miles of road. They are constantly paving and ripping up the same nine miles over and over, reminding me of a 1967 movie starring Paul Newman as “Cool Hand Luke.” He had to dig a ditch, fill it in, dig a ditch, fill it in ... you get the picture. So, I dubbed 196 the “Cool Hand Luke” road.  
I called the Georgia
Department of Transportation and R.B. Baker Construction, the company doing the work, and asked the question I’m sure many of us would like to know the answer to: What is taking so long?  
I got the run-around, the pass off and unfriendly voices at the other end. I left numerous messages with different “bosses.” I was interrogated about who I am and where I live. I was asked for my home phone number.  Heck, no one at the DoT or the construction company could even tell me the year the project was started.  
I was able to find out that the job was given to a private contractor through bidding.  R.B. Baker won the contract.  No one knows just who is in charge of the project. The project’s start and projected ending dates are unknown.  Phone calls go unreturned, and if you call to ask about anything related to the project, you are met with hostile employees. This all reeks of incompetancy to me.  
A simple update about the problems encountered and the progress made by whoever is in charge of the 196 widening project  would have been sufficient and thoughtful enough to satisify the people who travel that road on a daily basis.
— Marie Goodrich
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