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County sets meeting on plans for Effingham Parkway
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Plans for the proposed Effingham Parkway will be on the drawing boards for people to see at a public information open house next month.

Effingham County has scheduled an open house for March 18 at the county administrative complex from 4-6 p.m.

“It’s an informal open house where people can walk through and ask questions,” County Administrator Toss Allen said. “It’s a very informal presentation.”

Allen said there will be no formal presentation or discussion about the planned Effingham Parkway, though there will be depictions of the proposed alignment.

The parkway under consideration is being designed as a two-lane road from Highway 30 to Blue Jay Road, a total length of more than 6.3 miles.

County officials will be on hand to talk about the planned parkway, and there also will be representatives from the state Department of Transportation and transportation consulting firm Moreland Altobelli.

The original Effingham Parkway design, a four-lane divided road that was going to be nearly 12 miles long, was pegged to cost $120 million to build. The current parkway concept is expected to cost $38 million. The new design also cuts down on the impact to wetlands, and that also reduces the need for a costly federal environmental impact statement.

Allen said the county will erect four signs to announce the meeting, one on Goshen Road, another near Forest Haven, one on Blue Jay Road and another on Highway 21. The county also is coordinating with Chatham County on the project and the meeting.

County commissioners also discussed which roads will be resurfaced in the coming year and at what expense. The county may add Oliver Kildare Road and Old Dixie Highway back to the list of roads to be resurfaced. Allen said the county could realign Little McCall and Rahn Station roads to tie those together and try to take out some of the sharp curves along Little McCall.

“The only thing about Little McCall is we need to get aggressive with that realignment before we spend money that maybe we have to tear it back out,” said Chairman Wendall Kessler. “I hate to put asphalt down and have it to tear it back out.”

Kessler also asked that any resurfacing of Jabez Jones and Kolic Helmey roads take place after the 2014-15 school year is completed and before the 2015-16 school year begins.