Construction costs Cordele businesses - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Construction costs Cordele businesses

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By Jay Polk - bio | email

CORDELE, GA (WALB) - If you've traveled on I-75 in Georgia in the last few months, the one thing that you might see more frequently than either cars or trucks is a construction barrel.

According to Jonathan Porter of Cordele: "it's been about 2 or 3 years since they started."

The construction is part of the widening of the interstate in Georgia. But for communities like Cordele, the sound of construction equipment is the sound of money lost.

"It's hurt many of our businesses," said Monica Simmons, president of the Cordele-Crisp Chamber of Commerce.

That's because like other cities on the interstate, Cordele is dependant on easy access to the highway. And when travelers have had trouble finding the exits..."they just kept on going," said Porter.

But the Georgia Department of Transportation is making progress on the project, and on Wednesday the southbound ramp to Exit 102 opened to traffic. And in addition to the widening, new on and off ramps are being built as well.

While construction on the interstate has taken a while, once it's finished it's expected to have a real economic impact on places like Crisp County.

Want proof? Last Thursday Big Tex Trailer Manufacturing company announced plans to open a manufacturing plant and dealership in Cordele, creating between 130 and 150 jobs.

"They are the biggest trailer manufacturer in the United States," said Bruce Drennan, the Executive Director of the Cordele-Crisp County Industrial Development Council.

One of the main reasons to move to this area?

"Location on I-75. The facility they bought, backs up directly to I-75," said Drennan.

So the interstate that is drawing curses now has also been a blessing as well. How will people in Cordele feel when all of the work is finally done?

Simmons said, "we're going to be so excited. I guess we need to do a ribbon cutting out there."

And residents here are hoping that in the end, the results will be as sweet as the watermelons.

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