Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Construction To Begin Shortly on Busy Epps Bridge Parkway Intersection in Oconee County

Improving Line of Sight

Construction work will begin on the upgrade of the intersection of Epps Bridge Parkway and Jennings Mill Parkway within the next month, according to Oconee County Public Works Director Emil Beshara.

The upgrade will include a raising of Jennings Mill Parkway at Lowe’s as well as a raising of the same roadway as it drops away from the Epps Bridge Parkway intersection and approaches Home Depot.

Retaining walls for the elevated roadway already are in place on both sides of Epps Bridge Parkway.

Jennings Mill Parkway
at Epps Bridge Parkway

Epps Bridge Parkway itself will not be closed during the construction, Beshara said, though there will be “lane restrictions” at times.

Beshara said he learned of the timetable for the project at a meeting with Georgia Department of Transportation officials earlier this month.

“They indicated that paving crews would be moving in toward the middle of May, so I expect you might see some activity in that intersection in late May or early June,” Beshara wrote to me in an email message last week. “I look for them to be done at this intersection by early August, depending on weather of course.”

The intersection improvement is part of the larger construction of the retail loop road from the Oconee Connector back to Epps Bridge Parkway at Jennings Mill Parkway.

That $13.5 million project is expected to be completed by the end of the year and will provide an entranceway to a proposed $76 million shopping center to be built between Lowe’s and SR Loop 10.

To avoid closing Jennings Mill Parkway, GDOT will add layers of asphalt, each 2 inches high, on lanes one at a time until the roadway approaches the current height of Epps Bridge Parkway, according to Beshara. Epps Bridge Parkway itself will not be raised, he said.

One of the entrances to Lowe’s off Jennings Mill Parkway already has been closed and will not reopen, according to a construction schematic for the project provided me by Beshara.

The remaining entrance to Lowe’s will drop down from the new roadway to the current parking lot, Beshara said. He said that the entranceway to the Shell gas station and convenience story on the other side of Epps Bridge Road also will be modified.

Beshara said the raising of the road is “to improve sight distance” as the roadway approaches Epps Bridge Parkway, which is on a ridge.

“Elevating the roadway will cost them (GDOT) a lot of money now,” Beshara said. “But it will leave us with a safer intersection.”

Beshara said in excess of 45,000 vehicles travel along Epps Bridge Parkway every day.

“I don’t see any significant burden on the traveling public during construction,” he wrote.