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An improvement project that was first envisioned in 2017 for South Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive will continue this week when City of Thomasville contractors complete work on an eight foot sidewalk along the south side of Varnedoe Street from South MLK, Jr. Drive to Varnedoe Park. The new sidewalk will connect to existing sidewalks on West Jackson Street and will eventually connect to sidewalks on South Pinetree Boulevard.

“This sidewalk will provide pedestrian access to Varnedoe Park, the City of Thomasville Dog Park and to businesses and restaurants along West Jackson Street,” said Wayne Newsome, City Engineer. “This is a significant improvement project that will greatly enhance the aesthetics and pedestrian safety in this area.”

The South MLK, Jr. Drive project began in 2017 when the initial project was discussed as part of a grant application to the Georgia Transportation Infrastructure Bank (GTIB). “We knew this project would be very competitive in the application for funding,” said Chris White, Assistant Utilities Superintendent. “Once we were notified that our application was accepted and funding was received in August 2018, our next step was to take the bid for construction to the Thomasville City Council for consideration. The City Council awarded the bid for construction in late 2018, allowing construction to begin in January 2019.” White said that in addition to grant funding from GTIB, the project is also funded from 2012 SPLOST funds.

“The first phase of the project involved utility construction, including replacement of a section of a partially collapsed sewer main on South MLK, Jr. Drive. The final phase of the project will bring the addition of eight foot sidewalk on the west side of the street and curbs and gutters to both sides of the roadway,” said Newsome, noting that crews will begin work in this area next week on infrastructure that will improve storm drainage on S MLK Jr. Drive.

While the construction project is underway in this area, pedestrian and vehicular traffic should exercise caution. Construction is expected to last through June 2019.

“While we understand the construction may be inconvenient to our citizens in the area, we are confident that these improvements will not only provide a safe route for pedestrians and bicyclists along this roadway, but it will also greatly improve drainage,” said White. “We are grateful for the community support we’ve received as well as their patience while these improvements are underway.”

For additional information regarding this project, please call the City of Thomasville’s Engineering Department at 229-227-7009.