The continued widening of Hwy. 72 in Southeastern Madison County is one of many projects being taken into consideration as the Georgia Department of Transportation re-prioritizes its plans for all state road improvements.
The DOT’s improvement plans for Hwy. 72 include a 6.6 mile bypass around Comer and Carlton. But that was before a $456 million shortfall in DOT funds.
“We are still in the process of reprioritizing, and they (DOT officials) have not made any decisions on any projects yet, or at least they have not released any decisions,” Mark McKinnon of the DOT said. “Upper management is still working on that.”
McKinnon said he couldn’t comment on the status of any particular project until the DOT completes reprioritization. That process, McKinnon said, should be completed toward the end of the year.
The DOT widened Hwy. 72 through Hull and Colbert earlier this decade.
So far, the only money the DOT has spent on this latest phase of the project has been to buy right-of-ways. Money has been authorized to purchase 21 parcels out of 129 needed for the Hwy. 72 project. But McKinnon said that no funds have been allotted actual construction yet.
“That’s where we are now,” McKinnon said. “But this project does fall under the re-prioritization, so we’ve basically slowed down until we find out where it’s going to fall in that process.”
The DOT’s ultimate plan has been to eventually provide four lanes of highway from Athens to South Carolina. The department has already widened the highway from the Clarke County line to where it intersects Hwy. 172 outside Colbert and from the Madison County line to Elberton.