Thomasville is the target for two road projects by the Georgia Department of Transportation. While work is progressing now for U.S. 19, a similar U.S. 84 project is slated to begin this fall that will involve resurfacing the roadway in its entirety within the Thomasville city limits. In advance of this project, city utilities crews will be working to rehab sewer lines and performing other infrastructure maintenance.
“These sewer lines are well over 50 years old, so replacing these lines with new pipes will be a huge improvement to the overall infrastructure of the system,” said Jerry Pionessa, City Engineer. “This work will occur mainly in the area from Smith and Broad to the railroad tracks on Smith Avenue.”
The GDOT will begin work on Smith Avenue in October, and the initial phase of their project will include resurfacing and restriping, with much of the work to be performed at night.
“The GDOT has been working to complete a similar project on U.S. 19 with the same overnight work detail, and it has worked very well with a minimum of inconvenience to our citizens,” Pionessa said.
The restriping that is planned will give a different look to Smith Avenue when it is finished, as the GDOT plans call for reducing the number of traffic lanes in various sections. Pionessa said that the motivation behind the changes to traffic flow is to improve safety in the area.
“Smith Avenue currently has a number of businesses, and traffic that may stop suddenly or hold up traffic for left-hand turns is a major contributor to vehicle accidents in the area. The GDOT believes reconfiguring the traffic flow will provide the opportunity to address these concerns,” said Pionessa. He added that, with the popularity of Cherokee Lake and the work being completed for the multi-use trail, pedestrian traffic is expected to increase in this area. Pionessa expects the changes in traffic flow to improve both vehicular and pedestrian safety.
Pionessa acknowledges that some citizens may be apprehensive about changes to the popular roadway. “Initially, the changes will involve just restriping, which gives us all an opportunity to become accustomed to the alterations before any significant changes occur. We have some very good examples of success stories for similar changes to roadways in other communities, and we don’t expect Thomasville’s change to be any less successful,” he explained.
Once the project is complete, Pionessa expects U.S. 84 to function just as efficiently, and more safely, than the current road design. “The resurfacing alone will result in a much smoother ride for area motorists,” he said. “But improving the safety of the area for both vehicle and pedestrian traffic is the ultimate goal.”