Road work begins for Hwy 144 widening project in Richmond Hill

Road work begins for Hwy 144 widening project in Richmond Hill

RICHMOND HILL, Ga. (WTOC) - Big traffic changes start Thursday morning for one busy part of south Bryan County.

It involves the widening project of Highway 144 in the heart of Richmond Hill.

The entire project is about five miles, with them splitting the shifting in two and a half mile increments. While all the construction may look like one big mess, in the end it will make traveling along Hwy 144 more efficient.

For some residents in the area, they say they can barely even get out of their own driveway.

"Every time those bulldozers go by the whole house shakes. We've got some cracks in the floor that we didn't have before,” Margaret and Joseph Taylor said.

The Taylors have been living in their house on Rabbit Hill Road for over 20 years. They've experienced drainage issues in the past, and they're now dealing with another problem: construction on Highway 144 right in front of their house.

The Taylors say loud noises and accidents have forced them to look for better ways to keep their family safe inside their home.

"That's what's really bothering me. I'm having to reconfigure my bedrooms downstairs, send kids upstairs. It's just no way for anyone to have to live,” Taylor said.

GDOT District Communication Officer Jill Nagel said currently construction crews are shifting traffic from Timber Trail to Rabbit Hill Road in two and a half mile increments.

“People that live in this area, this is an inconvenience, but the bottom line is when it is completed. It's going to be more efficient for them, so you don't have stop and go traffic we're going to have turn lanes, you're going to have additional travel lanes,” Nagel said.

Nagel said the purpose of the project is to make Highway 144 four lanes instead of two throughout. She says it will also address the Taylor's drainage problems. The family is waiting and watching.

"We don't think it's going to get any better because the road has been higher than they expected it to be and we've become lower and lower. We feel like we're living in the fishbowl right now,” Taylor said.

GDOT said the Highway 144 project will also address water run off giving the water some place to go.

"People will also notice that this roadway is a higher elevation now where we’re standing is one of the highest elevations in this project, but that’s due to all the storm drains and everything that we’ve added to improve this roadway so you don’t have water just washing off the road it will go into the curb and gutters,” Nagel said.

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