Construction on River Watch Parkway, Washington Road to help alleviate traffic in Columbia Co.

Construction on River Watch Parkway, Washington Road to help alleviate traffic in Columbia Co.

COLUMBIA COUNTY, GA (WFXG) - Columbia County is growing, but that growth means more cars on the road, making traffic a headache for commuters.

"We are having congested streets, and we've got a lot of projects in the works to alleviate that congestion," said Columbia County Director of Engineering Matt Schlachter.

With major problems, come solutions. Plans to deal with traffic are already in the works.

"Right now, we got River Watch Parkway under construction, which will basically give you another route out from Augusta to Evans without getting on Washington Road. Four-lane road and turn lanes where needed," Schlachter said. "We've got Washington Road under construction from Gibbs Road out to the Riverwood Plantation area, which will go from a two-lane road to a five-lane road with sidewalks and bike lanes. We've got a lot of projects and designs trying to alleviate some traffic in Grovetown."

And with the possibility of the Mullins Crossing shopping center on Washington Road expanding, many people say they're worried about even more traffic. But Schlachter there's no need to worry for now.

"The Mullins phase 2 that everyone is rumored to see this great new shopping center coming in ... Currently we have no plans in house for a shopping center," Schlachter said. "I'm sure there will be something in the future, but nothing has been submitted to the county for approval."

Schlachter said the funding for the River Watch Parkway expansion and other road projects is generated through sales taxes collected throughout the CSRA.

"If you're in Augusta, Richmond County, Columbia County, Lincoln County, McDuffie County. If you're shopping in our 13-county region, those sale tax dollars are funding these road projects."

Schlachter also said these changes they're making now will also help traffic in the county for the future.

"The forecaster is telling us that we're going to be bigger than Richmond County probably in the next 10 to 15 years," he said. "We'll actually exceed their population count. So, we're seeing it, we're trying to get ahead of it. In some places, we're catching up, and in others, we're trying to get ahead."

Schlachter said the River Watch Parkway expansion should be completed by 2017.

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