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GDOT officials update Effingham County group on transportation projects
Ann R. Purcell
Rincon’s Ann R. Purcell welcomes the Effingham County contingent to the Georgia Department of Transportation on Feb. 10. - photo by Mark Lastinger/staff
It’s very important to hear from you. I always tell people that what’s happening locally is most important.
GDOT Commissioner Russell McMurry

ATLANTA —  As far as Effingham Day at the Capitol participants were concerned, all roads led to the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) office on Feb. 10.

Nearly 100 Effingham County residents were treated to a presentation by one of their own, State Transportation Board Chairman Ann R. Purcell of Rincon, during the Effingham County Chamber of Commerce-sponsored event.

“I enjoy being your voice,” Purcell said early in her remarks. “I am proud to represent us and all the other 16 counties I have in the (1st) congressional district.”

Purcell distributed a pair of GDOT publications to the audience before introducing Transportation Commissioner Russell McMurry.

“You guys are helping transportation in Effingham County by being here,” he joked.

McMurry said that there is “a lot of value” in Effingham County residents visiting GDOT officials.

“It’s very important to hear from you,” he said. “I always tell people that what’s  happening locally is most important.”

McMurry said GDOT’s district office for Effingham County is located in Jesup.

“That’s really where you need to have those first contacts that really make a difference in partnering and making sure that we can get things done, and making sure we are responsive and understand what is going on locally,” he said. “... I am glad that we can host and have some dialogue.”

GDOT Chief Engineer Meg Pirkle said $97 million is set to be spent on Effingham County transportation projects over the next four years.

The Ga. Hwy 119 bridge at the Ogeechee River just south of Brooklet is set for replacement in 2023. Work on the project is slated to start within two months.

In addition, a series of concrete slabs is due for replacement on I-16. The stretch runs from Ga. Hwy 67 in Bulloch County to the Ga. Hwy 17 connector in Chatham County.

The project is set to be let in August.

Resurfacing is planned for Ga. Hwy 21 from Jack’s Creek to north of County Road 39 (Dewitt Road). The contract for that project is scheduled to be signed in May.

GDOT officials said they are working with the Effingham County Board of Commissioners on the Effingham Parkway, an alternate route to Hwy 21.

“We plan on construction to being in a year and a half or so,” Pirkle said.

In addition, the roundabout at the intersection of Ga. Hwy 17 and Blue Jay Road will be expanded to enhance safety.

“This is going to be a big one like the City of Guyton has (at the crossing of Ga. Hwy 17 and Ga. Hwy 119) and Ebenezer Road,” Purcell said.

“Ultimately, with an adequate, large-designed roundabout, trucks can navigate easier and better, and that makes it operate a lot better,” McMurry added.

Rumple strips are also set to be added on several state routes in Effingham County.

The county is also due $250,000 in Local Maintenance and Improvement (LMIG) grants from the state. The cities of Guyton, Rincon and Springfield will receive $38,000, $129,000 and $46,000, respectively.

“Those are great numbers and they are keeping pace but everybody needs more,” McMurry said. “I think it just highlights the importance and criticality of transportation infrastructure, especially with what you guys have through the (Effingham County Industrial Development Authority) and the growing freight at work and freight warehousing distribution that you are seeing in Effingham County and around to your neighbors in Chatham as well.”