Elbert County Administrator Comments on Highway 17 Inclusion into Freight Corridor

August 23, 2013

The pipe dream of having State Route 17 become a four lane highway from I-85 to I-20 is one step closer to reality.

Recently, the Georgia State Board of Transportation voted to adopt Georgia’s official Freight Corridor Network.

Five of the included roads are in the northeast Georgia area, with State Route 17 being included in the network.

Elbert County Administrator Bob Thomas says this is encouraging news for the county, especially with the possibility of State Route 72 becoming a four lane highway in the near future.

“That would really work very well for Elbert County as far as economic prospects; I think we would get a lot more looks as it makes us more attractive for manufacturing”, said Thomas. “We would really welcome those two fourlanes as it would really help us.”

With State Route 17 being included in the corridor, it is now exempted from Congressional Balancing, which limits the amount of funding for roads in each congressional district.

Thomas feels that if Elbert County were to have two four lane highways, that it would certainly even the playing field when attracting new businesses.

“We have been in a void being right next to the state line, and you have the Athens area growing because of the interstate”, explained Thomas. “If we can at least get two four lane highways through Elbert County, we feel it will level the playing field for us, and we are optimistic about getting those two roads four laned.”

This news comes at a time when the Elbert County Board of Commissioners are looking to construct a spec building to attract industry.

The funding of which will come from increasing the millage rate.

The final public hearing on that issue takes place on August 29th at 6:00pm.