By Kathy Jefcoats
A Hampton road will be temporarily closed beginning May 3 so that construction work can progress on the Ga. Highway 20 expressway.
Known as the Hampton bypass or racetrack project, the expressway will take through-traffic out of downtown Hampton, hopefully relieving congestion, said Hampton police Chief Bud Smith.
Effective May 3, East King Road will be closed for up to 90 days. Motorists are asked to use West King Road as an alternate route during the closure. Once the project is done, West King Road will be permanently closed as East King Road becomes the thoroughfare.
"The good part about the project will be several main intersections allowing local traffic to flow to downtown areas," Smith said. "It will make the locals happier because they will be able to get around better."
The bulk of through-traffic flows into Hampton from Griffin and Spalding County and Clayton County ? most of which will be diverted around town on the bypass. Smith said truck traffic should not be much of a problem in the downtown area, either.
Smith alerted the local school system and public safety officials about the road closing but does not anticipate any problems in making the detour.
The closing is the first in Hampton because of the project and is expected to be the last, Smith said.
"We've been able to just reroute or detour around," he said. "This is the first time we've had to close a road and don't expect to have to do it again."
There is only one residence on the road, said Smith.
The project began in 2002 and on target for a completion date of Sept. 30, 2005. However, Smith said he would not be surprised to see it finish early.
"They're really making progress," he said.
Georgia Department of Transportation officials urge motorists to use caution when approaching and proceeding through work zones and to expect delays in some areas.