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County eyes date for end of OAR work
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The first section of the long-waited Old Augusta Road improvements remain on track, County Administrator David Crawley said.

Crawley told Effingham County commissioners that work on Phase I is proceeding. The road is closed occasionally as contractor R.B. Baker performs work.

One of the hurdles to be cleared before the first section of the road is finished is the relocation of a utility pole and its guy wires.

“They are going to handle it any day now,” Crawley said.

Commissioner Verna Phillips worried that the deadline to finish the first phase of Old Augusta may not be met.

“They’ve got a lot of work to do to get that paved before Aug. 21,” she said.

Plans for the remainder of Old Augusta Road — which will link end at Highway 21 near the Effingham-Chatham county line — also are progressing, Crawley noted.

“We are moving forward with phase 2 and with our right-of-way plans and some of the acquisition,” he said.

Crawley said the county is continuing to talk with Georgia-Pacific on the design for phase 2, which will straighten the curve before the intersection with Fort Howard Road.

Crawley also advised commissioners of the Coastal Region Metropolitan Planning Organization’s “deep concerns” over the proposed alignment of Effingham Parkway. In a letter to Georgia Department of Transportation district engineer Glenn Durrence, CORE MPO executive director Tommy Thompson said the group was not able to review the concept report before it was submitted for approval.

The MPO has major objections to the mainline of Effingham Parkway feeding into Jimmy DeLoach Parkway via Benton Boulevard and Highlands Boulevard, according to Thompson’s letter. The Chatham County portion of the Effingham Parkway is not consistent with the MPO’s long range transportation plan in terms of project limits or magnitude costs.

The MPO also raised worries that the proposed southern terminus — the conjunction of the parkway at Jimmy DeLoach Parkway and I-95’s intersection — would be able to handle the volume of traffic expected for that area, given the number of developments planned nearby. The MPO said that terminus would not be adequate unless connections were provided to I-95, Highway 21 and the port.

As a result, an alternative route that has Effingham Parkway crossing I-95 south of Highway 30 and tying into Highway 21 south of the Highway 21/I-95 interchange.

Effingham officials met with Chatham officials earlier this month to discuss the Effingham Parkway, and the MPO has asked the DOT to refrain from approving the final concept report until staffs from both counties and the DOT can meet and go over the best way to go forward.

“The current route of Effingham Parkway appears to be better,” Crawley said.

He added that representatives from Effingham will meet with Chatham officials to discuss their concerns.