VALDOSTA, GA (WALB) - Officials with the city of Valdosta and GDOT cut the ceremonial ribbon Tuesday morning to officially declare the new East Hill Avenue overpass open.
"There are over 20 trains a day that actually block this crossing. So, now we'll have traffic free flowing, which will be good for the community, good for traffic, good for efficiency, good all the way around," pointed out Valdosta City Manager Larry Hanson.
The long awaited overpass had been in the planning stages for almost 30 years and costs about $20 million to build. It will not only make it easier and safer for drivers to travel, but could also save lives. "Public safety agencies sometimes have their response times compromised when trains are blocking the crossing, so that will be eliminated as well," said Hanson.
The new overpass will also make it easier for large trucks traveling through downtown Valdosta. "It eliminates trucks trying to circle through neighborhoods looking for a route," Hanson explained. "It's creating a disruption in the neighborhoods. We'd have cable lines and other things pulled down in neighborhoods from semis looking for alternative routes."
The DOT estimates that nearly 19,000 vehicles per day will travel across the overpass, increasing to nearly 27,000 per day in 20 years.