Editor's note: This article has been changed from its original version to clarify that the closing of railroad crossings in Doerun will take place as part of the four-laning project there but that the GDOT doesn't have a schedule for when it will take place within the project, which is expected to be let for bids in Fiscal Year 2025.
DOERUN, Ga. — A Georgia Department of Transportation meeting Tuesday in Doerun brought out dozens of residents but presented little new information about the widening of Highway 133.
Because the event was a “come-and-go” format, it’s hard to get a number of people who participated, but when The Observer was there about 4:30 p.m. there were no less than 50 residents in the Doerun Community Center, where the GDOT had set up maps of the project.
Excluding any specific landowner’s concern for what would happen to his own property, the biggest issues presented were a timeline of construction, one-way lanes through town, creation of parking issues and proposed closing of some railroad crossings. Most of those had already been described through the media.
The GDOT is working to four-lane State Route 133 between Moultrie and Albany, about 32 miles. The construction is divided into five projects, and each project has a different projected start date.
The sections and proposed fiscal year (FY) of construction are listed below in geographical order from south to north. The fiscal year begins July 1 of the preceding calendar year: For example, FY 2021 begins on July 1, 2020. The construction contracts could be bid any time within that fiscal year, and all the dates are subject to change.
You can follow the progress of a project’s development by going to www.dot.ga.gov/BS/Projects/ProjectSearch. For ease of search the SR 133 project identification numbers are also included below.
• 0000520: Colquitt County, south of US 319/SR 35 to Mike Horne Road, FY 2021.
• 0015478: Mike Horne Road in Colquitt County to south of Carlton Road in Worth County, FY 2025. This project includes the City of Doerun.
• 0000519: Worth County, north of the Colquitt County line to north of SR 112, FY 2022.
• 0000475: north of SR 112 in Worth County to north of County Line Road in Dougherty County, FY 2024.
• 0000473: Dougherty County, north of County Line Road to north of Holly Drive, FY 2022.
The plan puts the Doerun phase as the last project to start, but Doerun City Manager Kevin Branch doesn’t want anyone to rush.
“We’re trying to make sure we do this right,” Branch said.
Prior to Tuesday, the last Public Information Open House on the project through Doerun was in August 2016. The GDOT had considered two options: A bypass around Doerun and transforming two city streets into one-way flow to facilitate the highway’s two-lane traffic. Planners had opted for the bypass, but reaction at the August 2016 meeting caused them to reconsider.
Tuesday was the first time Doerun residents had been able to see the new plan mapped out.
Northbound traffic would flow onto Broad Avenue in the area of South Fain Street as it does now, except that it would have two lanes of traffic in that direction. The two lanes of southbound traffic would flow onto Bay Avenue in the area of Ticknor Road.
Downtown Doerun has a lot of parking spaces along Broad Avenue. They won’t be able to remain under the proposed road design.
GDOT spokeswoman Juanita Birmingham said Tuesday that city officials and DOT planners had reached out to one another about the lost parking areas. No solution has been agreed upon yet.
“This is something we’re going to have to revisit,” Birmingham said.
Birmingham said the GDOT plans to remove five railroad crossings in Doerun — Dona Turner Road, East Fincher Street, South Fain Street, Church Street and Williams Avenue.
The crossings are redundant and don’t qualify for needed upgrades, she said. They'll be removed as part of the project four-laning the streets through Doerun, which will be let for bids in Fiscal Year 2025, but Birmingham said the DOT does not have a schedule of specific work within the project.