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Lee road improvement plans ready

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By Jim Wallace - bio | email

LEE COUNTY, GA (WALB) - Rapid growth in Lee County in recent years has brought many more cars to roads designed to handle small town traffic.

City and County Commissioners will soon vote on changes to Downtown Leesburg roads to help with traffic flow, and then try to find money to pay for many other projects.

Most Lee County school traffic goes through downtown Leesburg, everyday tripling the amount of traffic the roads were designed to handle.

Lee County Director of Planning and Engineering Bob Alexander said "These roads are basically designed to handle 3000 population. And we need to redesign this to handle the ten thousand that come in."

Alexander has drawn up plans for more than a dozen road projects to handle the increased traffic across Lee County. In the next 2 weeks the city and county commissions will vote to redesign traffic patterns in the Leesburg courthouse square, to ease a bottleneck turning south on US 19.

Alexander said "We're adding an additional lane westbound on Fourth Street so you'll have a dual left turn lane in the direction here."

Part of Fourth Street will be made one way behind the courthouse. If approved, the lane changes will be made in June.

 Alexander said "Give everybody a chance to make adjustments on the changes we have, so that when school starts we'll be up and ready and going."

Future road projects include expanding Robert B. Lee Road to handle all downtown truck traffic, an overpass over the Railroad tracks just north of the city on U.S. 19 for traffic to the elementary and middle schools, and the completion of Forester Parkway over the Creek to connect with U.S. 82. Only one thing holding back these road projects.

Alexander said "Money. But we're going ahead and doing the design work on the projects with the good faith that sooner or later the money will come for these projects."

In the next decade U.S. 19 traffic is expected nearly to double as four laning from Atlanta is finished, pulling traffic off I-75 and rolling through Lee County.

Lee County's Population is expected to grow from the current 35,000 people now to 50,000 by the year 2025.

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