Preparations continue to move forward for the widening and relocation of Highway 17 in Stephens County.
This week, a pre-construction meeting for the project took place.
The Georgia Department of Transportation, along with contractor C.W. Matthews and others who will be involved with the construction of the road attended the meeting.
Stephens County Commissioner Dean Scarborough said that coming out of the meeting, the first work to be done will be the relocation of eight different utilities that are affected by the project.
Scarborough said that work would happen before construction of a new road will take place.
“It may be a while, up to two months, before you see road work being started but the good thing is they are likely going to start from both ends,” said Scarborough. “You have two separate projects with two separate project managers.”
The northern section of the project will create a four-lane Highway 17 from Memorial Drive to Scott Road. The southern section will build the road from Scott Road to just south of the Stephens-Franklin County line.
According to Scarborough, the DOT says the southern end will largely be constructed away from the current Highway 17, minimizing traffic concerns on the current 17.
However, he said that is not necessarily the case for the northern end of the project.
“It will affect lot of traffic,” said Scarborough of the northern end. “You have the high school traffic, Wal-Mart traffic, Eastanollee Elementary School traffic.”
In addition, the northern end of the road will be built alongside the current road.
Scarborough said he was also impressed with the DOT’s message to those working on the project to be mindful of any work that is done that affects adjoining properties.
The Georgia Department of Transportation awarded both phases of the Highway 17 project to C.W. Matthews Contracting, Inc. of Marietta earlier this month at a cost of just over $66 million.
The DOT said construction is expected to begin this summer and be completed in the spring of 2016.