MOULTRIE — A former Colquitt County commission chairman who has worked to have Ga. Hwy. 133 four-laned from Albany to Valdosta is encouraged by the announcement of restored funding.

The unanimous vote of the state Department of Transportation Board also seems to show broad support to complete the 66-mile project, said Max Hancock, who helped put together 10 years ago a group of representatives from the counties through which the highway passes.

The board agreed to restore funding for engineering and environmental work for the project that was suspended when the department, facing a huge shortfall, suspended work on projects that were in the development stage.

“What’s so encouraging is the board voted unanimously to spend that money on 133 and that they wanted to go forward with the project when money becomes available,” Hancock said. “I think it’s very encouraging to see the board become aware of that project. The unanimous vote would seem to indicate they understand it.”

The 66.28-mile project is divided into nine sections, with five of those between Moultrie and Valdosta and four between Moultrie and Albany.

The longest section of 13.87 miles is in Worth County. The shortest section is a 3.73-mile stretch in Dougherty and Worth counties.

Hancock said the group of officials that has met, including city and county elected officials as well as state legislators, is recommending that the section coming out of Albany and the section on the east side of Moultrie heading toward Valdosta be the first to be completed.

Although the section in Colquitt County is one of the shortest at 4.55 miles, Hancock said “it makes sense” to keep four-lane sections of roadway contiguous rather than having sections of four-lane separated by two-lane sections.

The estimated cost to complete the 4.55-mile section in Colquitt County and the 8.11-mile section in Dougherty County is $70 million.

When the announcement was made to suspend road projects the preliminary work on Highway 133 was about 90 percent complete, Hancock said, with about $15 million spent. The state is expected to soon sign a contract with two companies to complete that phase of the project.

Hancock said that the project getting this far has been due to the various governmental entities presenting a solid front and staying engaged in the process.

“Had not that committee been started, this would have been, at best, in the talking stage,” he said. “It has had some effect and it has moved the project along.”

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