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Widening of 301 still possible?
The notion has been talked about for decades. Even a multi-county transportation vote that would have made it happen did not come to fruition.
Now another chance has come into view.
U.S. Highway 301 through the years has remained two-laned, minus the addition of passing lanes for motorists to get around loaded-down tractor trailers that also use the route to get from Sylvania to Statesboro and back.
The topic of four-laning U.S. 301 when the TSPLOST was an option for voters failed at the polls as Screven County was the lone county to cast ballots in favor of the measure that would widen 301 and provide funds for in-county road upgrades.
Now a grant is available that may still bring 301 up to the four lanes that so many citizens have discussed.
The Screven County Commission voted Wednesday morning to apply for a U.S. Department of Transportation Tiger Grant to improve Highway 301.
The grant requires no matching funding from an applying government agency like a majority of the other available grants. It would be a 100 percent grant.
County Manager Rick Jordan informed the commissioners at the rescheduled meeting because of Hurricane Irma that he was notified about the potential grant by former Sylvania mayor Margaret Evans who learned of the grant from U.S. Rep. Rick Allen.
Multiple discussions have occurred about the grant and those talks also have included Allen Burns of the regional commission.
With Screven County being rural, officials say it stands a good chance in receiving some of the $500 million set aside for the grants.
Four-laning 301 to Statesboro would be expensive.
“You are talking millions of dollars,” Jordan said.
Evans has been a longtime proponent of the widening of 301 and other officials also see the everyday need plus the need in times of emergencies.
“This is an evacuation route now,” said commissioner Roland Stubbs. “And three people have been killed on this road in the past year.”
Stubbs said four-laning would help with traffic flow.