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2-year road work project begins on 278/142 intersection
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Pittman Construction Company has begun work on a $12 million widening and reconstruction of the U.S. Highway 278 and Ga. Highway 142 intersection — a project that could last two years.

County Engineer Kevin Walter said previously that the widening project was identified as a top county priority several years ago because of the rapid growth in that area.

"It’s hard to remember, but there was nothing up there even five years ago and, now, look at the all the stuff being built up there. When the economy improves there will be 10 times as much built there," he said.

The project will consist of resurfacing and widening the Ga. 142 and U.S. 278 intersection and surrounding area, GDOT Assistant Area Engineer Robert Moon said previously. Ga. 142, from the Wendy’s south past 278 down to the entrance of Ingles, and U.S. 278, from Mamie’s Kitchen west beyond the old Wal-Mart, will both be widened to a total of four lanes and will have medians and turning lanes added. Moon said the project is expected to take up to 24 months to complete. The contract has a completion date of Oct. 31, 2012.

The project is being paid with federal stimulus money dispersed by the Georgia Department of Transportation. Originally, GDOT estimated the project would cost $17.5 million, but Walter said the bids were very competitive, with Pittman’s being the lowest.

"The Pittman bid was very advantageous to the taxpayers. The estimate was a little high and the bids very competitive and favorable," he said in a voice mail message.

GDOT Spokeswoman Cissy McNure said the nearly $5.5 million savings will go back into the state’s stimulus fund to be used on another shovel-ready project.

"The contractors are giving us really good prices right now, which is helping us because we’re getting more projects out of the money," she said.

McNure said lanes of U.S. 278 and Ga. 142 will be closed during construction because of the intense nature of the work. However, she said lane closings will not occur during rush hours, which will be defined as between 6 a.m. and 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Motorists are advised to slow down and use extra caution in this and all construction work zones.