CUTHBERT, GA (WALB) - The first fully funded Transportation Investment Act (TIA) project to begin construction was recently completed in Randolph County. The $31 million project widened a segment of US 27 and State Route 1, creating a four-lane route connecting Florida and Indiana.
The project took less than three years, but was over 30 years in the making.
"It was just sitting there on the shelf, pretty much ready to go, and we were starting to think that we'd just never get it done," said Randolph County Commission Chair Jimmy Bradley. "When TIA came, we thought, finally, here's our chance to make this happen and our folks were happy to put their own pennies on the line to push this forward."
In September 2013, the project did finally move forward, and part of the goal was to give drivers an alternative north-south route to I-75, which for the community surrounding the project meant a greater opportunity to attract travelers to the local businesses.
"We are already seeing cars cruise through town with license plates from counties all over Georgia and out of state, so the project is paying off. It's been great for our local businesses," Bradley said.
"We'd like businesses and investors to realize that there is a lot of potential for industry development in Randolph and that has only improved with the new logistics and transportation opportunities the US 27 project will provide," said Patricia Goodman, President of the Randolph County Chamber of Commerce,. "With industry comes community, and we hope people will see our quality of life, and decide to become residents."
Goodman also related the importance that US 27 plays in local tourism. As part of a local initiative with the Highway 27 Association, Goodman said a study was commissioned to learn what types of travelers were using the highway.