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Passing lane, road straightening in works for Hwy 42 North

By Stewart Voegtlin

stewart@jacksonprogress-argus.com

A Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) project involving Highway 42 North that has allegedly been on the books for over five years is underway.

Several county and city officials told the Progress-Argus GDOT is putting in a passing lane and straightening the curve near the railroad crossing at 42, Old Bethel and Wolf Creek roads.

Exceleration and deceleration lanes allegedly will be installed at the Hyponex plant to ease the flow of truck traffic to and from the industry.

Estimated time of project completion is 18 months.

The project calls for a great deal of Right-of-way (ROW), and substantial clear-cutting of the property created a buzz of speculation in the county.

Numerous rumors arose ranging from plans for a large strip mall to a convenience store. Many took the felled trees and cleared ROW to signal Wal-Mart's belated arrival to the county. This is unfounded and incorrect.

Deputy County Administrator Michael Brewer told the Progress-Argus the county isn't involved in the GDOT project.

"The county has nothing to do with the 42 project," Brewer said. "There's been a need for the passing lane for years, and [GDOT] has decided to go the extra step and take the curve out of the highway.

"[The project's] been on the books for some time," Brewer continued. "There aren't any commissioners sitting on the current Board that were in office when these changes were proposed."

Brewer also mentioned an additional GDOT project that is currently nearing completion -- Third Street resurfacing.

"Third Street hasn't been resurfaced since 1998," Brewer said. "The street takes quite a pounding."

Brewer said the street will be resurfaced throughout the city's "main drag" and up to the Highway 16 and Highway 42 split near Webb's Thriftown.