Traffic Flow Changing as Construction Begins On New Courthouse
Starting next week, residents will begin to see substantial changes around the Toombs County Courthouse as construction begins on a replacement structure. The new 50,000-square-foot facility will be completed in the next 20 months, said Chris Seabolt, project manager with TQ Construction of Metter, which was awarded the contract for the $34 million undertaking. The work is being funded through a Special Option Local Sales Tax and revenue collected from the cities of Vidalia, Lyons, and Santa Claus. Additional funds for the project are from money saved for the past decade through the general fund and SPLOST.
The new Courthouse will be located slightly to the west of the footprint of the current Courthouse, specifically on the continued from page
of the Ross Bowen building. The construction also includes the renovation of the adjacent Toombs County Detention Center and the addition of 70 additional beds and 40 more cells. Locating the Courthouse closer to the Detention Center with a connecting corridor between the two structures will provide a safe and efficient way for the transfer of inmates for hearings.
The first steps in the project are the demolition of the DOT building on the east side of the Courthouse and the Bowen Building on the west. The demolition, to be conducted by McLendon Enterprises, will necessitate eliminating parking and redirecting traffic flow on the west side of the Courthouse. “Starting around March 15 we will be eliminating all of the parking on the west side of the Courthouse and we will shift southbound traffic on the North Victory Drive thoroughfare on the west side of the Courthouse.“ The curbing will remain temporarily and traffic will flow in both directions on a two-lane thoroughfare on the west side. “TQ’s objective is to keep the North Victory thoroughfare open as long as possible during construction, ideally until construction on the new Courthouse is complete,” Seabolt said, adding that safety considerations may not allow this to occur. “This is going to be a three-story building peaking at 95 feet, so once we start going vertical, we may have to close the thoroughfare completely.” He pointed out that long-term plans call for eliminating the thoroughfare altogether and replacing it with parking and landscaping on the new Courthouse’s eastern front.
Beginning next week, motorists will be redirected through the thoroughfare as bright orange barrels block the southbound road and parking area. “It will get congested and we ask people to be cautious,” Seabolt said, noting the road is a favorite cut-through route for parents getting their children to school on adjacent Highway 292.
Seabolt said his company is excited to be participating in the project to replace the 56-year-old Courthouse. “The majority of the project team for TQ is local, so we feel we have a little extra motivation to do a good job.”