by Nyamekye Daniel
Georgia will use $277 million in federal coronavirus relief for local transportation projects, Gov. Brian Kemp’s office said Monday.
Kemp’s office said the money was set aside for the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) to offset projected COVID-19-related revenue gaps.
“I am thankful for these one-time federal resources that will help keep Georgians working while also keeping our economy on the road to recovery,” Kemp said.
Kemp’s office said the aid would help the GDOT start transportation upgrades early, primarily focused on the state’s freight network, in Jefferson, Jasper, Putnam, Upson and Barrow counties.
The state also will use federal relief money to replace state funds resurfacing and rehabilitation on Georgia’s state routes and interstate highways.
“These important roadway improvements will help Georgia continue to be the top state for business thanks to a world-class logistics infrastructure,” Kemp said. “Both the freight and logistics industry and Georgia residents benefit from this much-needed funding, particularly in light of the challenges of COVID-19.”
Among the projects are lane expansions in Jeffery County on U.S. 1/State Route 4 and near the Louisville Bypass.
Officials plan to expand U.S. 1/State Route 4 from two lanes to four as part of the statewide freight network. The project is north of Louisville from Mennonite Church Road to State Route 540. The federal funds would accelerate the project from an anticipated construction start date in late 2024 to mid-2021, Kemp’s office said.
Jefferson County also plans to expand U.S. 1 from two lanes to four south of Louisville for 6 miles. The project now would start in mid-2021 instead of late 2026, Kemp’s office said.
“The expansion of U.S. 1 and State Route 4 make vital enhancements to the roadway network in Jefferson County,” Jefferson County Commission Chair Mitchell McGraw said. “These modifications ensure that our safety measures and logistical needs are not only met but exceeded.”
The federal funds were provided through the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act 2021, which was passed by Congress and signed by former President Donald Trump in December.
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Nyamekye Daniel has been a journalist for four years. She was the managing editor for the South Florida Media Network and a staff writer for The Miami Times. Daniel’s work has also appeared in the Sun-Sentinel, Miami Herald and The New York Times. Daniel is a staff reporter for The Center Square.