CONYERS — The Rockdale County Board of Commissioners held a ground-breaking ceremony April 9 for construction of the second phase of the Sigman Road widening project.
The project began almost 25 years ago and is being done in four phases. Phase I was completed in the 1990s and widened the road from the Sigman Road/I-20 interchange, exit 78, to Lester Road.
Phase II of the project will widen Sigman from just east of Lester Road to Irwin Bridge Road. An added feature that Phase I did not have is a 10-foot-wide multi-use paved trail that will run along the north side of Sigman Road. Right of way acquisition has been completed, and construction is ready to begin.
Rockdale County Department of Transportation Deputy Director Michael Anderson said the cost of the project is $14.9 million. E.R. Snell Contracting was awarded the construction bid, and the project is expected to take two years to complete.
The groundbreaking was held in the parking lot of Voices of Faith Church on Sigman Road. Bishop Gary Hawkins Sr. opened the ceremony with a prayer and said the church is excited about the project.
“I know it will take roughly two-and-a-half years, and I know there will be some traffic issues with our church once we go back into full bloom, but those are good issues for us to work out,” said Hawkins.
Post 2 Commissioner Dr. Doreen Williams said she will be happy when Sigman Road is widened.
“I travel this road all the time for years and I can’t tell you how excited I am to have four lanes, said Williams. “Commissioner (Sherri) Washington has really spearheaded this program and turned it into something more than just a road, and we really appreciate that.”
Jason Quinn, the project manager for E.R Snell, said they are excited to get to work and noted that they will be hiring county residents for the project.
“We’re very excited to hire locals here and put them to work so they can enjoy this as much as we are,” Quinn said.”Hopefully in the next week or two you will start to see some groundbreaking and clearing activities taking place.”
Post 1 Commissioner Sherri Washington said anytime Rockdale County can improve transportation, it is a cause for celebration.
“Sigman Road is the gateway into our community,” she said. “We want this to be a welcoming feeling that you are somewhere special when you exit I-20 and turn left on Sigman Road. We’ve done a lot of planning, and we look forward to implementing the ideas. When this is finished, you will be in a place where you feel like home, where you feel welcome, and where you want to spend your money.”
Commission Chairman Oz Nesbitt Sr. added his thanks for former Rockdale transportation director Brian Allen, who was director when the second phase of the project was initiated and remains as a consultant. Allen was present at the groundbreaking.
Nesbitt added if the county is going to keep and attract businesses, they have to have “a robust infrastructure system in place, and that includes transportation.”
Nesbitt also praised Jason Quinn with E.R. Snell for employing local residents.
“He is going to be hiring local folks in Conyers and Rockdale County to be part of the construction project along the Sigman Road corridor,” Nesbitt said. “Anytime we get a contract with a company who is willing to re-invest back into our community, it says a lot. I appreciate folks who want to give back to our community.”
Phase III of the Sigman Road project will start at the end of Phase II at Irwin Bridge Road and go to Ga. Highway 138. The final Phase IV will go from Highway 138 to Salem Road and I-20. Completion of this will give the county a four-lane divided median highway all the way from I-20 and Sigman Road on the west side of the county to I-20 and Salem Road on the east side. No date had been set for the completion of the project.