GDOT to complete Whigham Dairy Road traffic study

Published 9:28 am Wednesday, March 17, 2021

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The Bainbridge City Council held their annual retreat over the weekend, where several topics were presented for discussion. Over the coming weeks, all topics will be covered in detailed articles.

One of the topics included Georgia Department of Transportation’s agreement to finally conduct a study on Whigham Dairy Road. Camila Knowles of Cornerstone Government Affairs told the City that the General Assembly had approved for GDOT to complete a traffic study in hopes of rerouting GA 97 to Whigham Dairy Road.

City Manager Chris Hobby was thrilled upon hearing this news.

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“This is something we’ve been talking about for almost 15 years,” he said. “It would be very beneficial to us.”

Hobby explained that currently the truck route, GA 97 goes right through the center of downtown. Trucks drive down West Street and turn onto Shotwell Street before make a left on Broad Street. Hobby said the turn is almost impossible for truckers to make and they often end up taking out the pedestrian marker on the corner of the street.

District Engineer Van Mason said this study they will conduct will determine if making Whigham Dairy Road a state trucking route is feasible.

Mason expects the study to take a couple of months, as they intend to study the number of cars, specifically trucks, traveling the roadway. They also want to get an adequate sample size, as they realize some trucking companies are seasonal.

Once the study is complete, GDOT will determine if the rerouting would be most beneficial to them and the city and if so, begin solidifying funding and creating a design.

Mason said engineers have already begun creating a conceptual design, but this would allow for contractors to come in and bid on the right of way costs and utility costs, along with several others.

Once designed, the GDOT could then begin work on the trucking route, which could take years depending on its footprint, according to Mason.

The total cost of this rerouting project is estimated to cost between $10-11 million, with the City and County agreeing to pay $3 million.

Mason said the conduction of the study will not cause any disruption to the regular flow of traffic, drivers may see engineers out in their vehicles conducting a count, if anything.