THOMASVILLE — As of Friday, it was anyone’s guess whether a Georgia Department of Transportation (DOT) project in the works for more than seven years would ever become a reality in Thomas County.

After almost seven years of planning and discussion, intersection improvements and traffic signals at the intersection of U.S. 19 North and Ga. 202 were about to see the light of day in April with the letting of bids.

Bid-letting was postponed until September, but a DOT spokesman said Friday there is a chance a lot of DOT projects on the drawing board will never see daylight.

A statement e-mailed to the Times-Enterprise Friday by Craig Solomon, DOT District 4 communications officer, said the agency is “re-prioritizing both its short- and long-term programs. ... Our intention is to define those projects that will yield the most benefits for taxpayer dollars spent — in terms of congestion relief in our urban areas and economic development in our rural areas. ... “

“There is a chance a lot of projects won’t get done,” Solomon told the Times-Enterprise Friday.

The Thomas County projects, among others, will not be done if funding is not available, he said.

DOT is looking at 9,000 projects.

The project has been on the table for a long time, said Thomas County Commissioner Ken Hickey, who represents the district in which the intersection is located. Hickey pointed out that his commission predecessor, Bobby Brown, began the push for intersection improvements in January 2001.

“For it not to materialize when they said it would is a letdown from state government,” Hickey said.

Thomas County’s highway needs are as important as anywhere in Georgia, the commissioner added.

Hickey will contact local legislators to seek help in ensuring the project is funded.

“I just hate it for the citizens of Thomas County,” Hickey said. “We really thought it was where it should be.”

County commissioners learned only recently that bid-letting had been moved to September.

DOT will release a list in September that will show which projects are alive and which died during the re-prioritizing process.



Senior reporter Patti Dozier can be reached at (229) 226-2400, ext. 220.

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