Five-lane US 280 in Claxton finally opens - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

US 280 in Claxton opens after years of construction

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US 280 opens in Claxton after years of construction. US 280 opens in Claxton after years of construction.
CLAXTON, GA (WTOC) -

Orange barrels still filled Claxton's portion of US 280 as business owners like Houston Hodges waited for them to be moved any moment. He's watched the construction for much of the decade he's been open.

"It's been tougher on the customers to find us because sometimes they had this road closed or had that road closed. But we have an old parking lot out back," said Houston Hodges of Hoody's Hoagies.

The construction of a five-lane highway has cramped and frustrated drivers and business owners alike.

"At times, they've blocked us off on our drive, both of them coming in. So we had customers come in the back. With the construction happening, we had people ask what road can I take to get to your place basically," said Brian Hodges of Ace Hardware.

What you had was two parallel streets with a railroad track between them and they flipped them to get all the lanes together. But from the design to the state funding to the actual construction took more than 20 years.

Claxton's mayor said everything from a bad economy to political changes in Atlanta have slowed the project. But, finally at about 2:30 p.m. crews started moving barrels and the roads lanes opened.

"Mayor Perry Lee DeLoach started this. It's his baby. I know he's looking down and watching us open it up today," said Claxton Mayor Luther Royal.

Planners said then that a widened road and better route to the interstate will help attract industry and jobs. Royal said he hopes all the years of struggle will give them their path to growth. 

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