By MYRA THRIFT StaffWriter
ARGYLE – The much-anticipated widening of U.S. 84 between Waycross and Homerville has been officially completed and all lanes open for travel. During a celebration ceremony held at Argyle City Hall in Clinch County Tuesday morning, October 8, local and state officials cut the ribbon signifying the “official” opening of the roadway, bringing to fruition a dream of many in the area. It was pointed out the total cost of the 25-mile project was stated as $132.9 million. It was cut into three phases with a total of 18 bridges involved. Ware County Commission Chairman Jimmy Brown said the opening of the road is a dream come true for him. “I am really excited to see the road completed,” Brown said following the ceremony. “I witnessed a lot of loss of life on that road during my 40 years in the fire service and I am just so proud to see that it is now officially open and we can ride on it without all that worry. This road is much safer now. I appreciate the Georgia DOT and all of the elected officials that were here this morning. Like Ms. (Ann) Purcell said, it is a great day for Georgia and especially for Waycross, Ware County and all of this part of the state.” Purcell, a State Transportation board member, welcomed the group of interested folks from Ware, Clinch, Lowndes, and surrounding counties and introduced elected officials in the audience. “This is a long-awaited dream as we officially open the roadway,” said Purcell. “This shows how important transportation is to the state. We are in partnership with the citizens of Georgia. Without working together, we get nothing done. Without each other, we are nowhere. We are a team and we are serious about infrastructure.”
State Transportation Board Chairman Tim Golden told those in attendance he was honored to be a part of the board and was proud to represent the south Georgia area in Atlanta. Rob McCall, the DOT district engineer, said this was the first road he has had the pleasure of dedicating since taking the position. “This has been a long time coming,” said McCall. “This is a good day for Georgia now that the road is open.” Before cutting the ribbon, Purcell thanked everyone who had a part in the project from beginning to end. “Today is a great day,” Purcell said. “We believe in infrastructure and economic development.” State Rep. James Burchett, State Rep. John Corbitt and Public Service Commissioner Jason Shaw were all in attendance, as well as Emmitt Nolan, field representative for 1st District U.S. Congressman Earl “Buddy” Carter. Attending from Ware County were Chairman Jimmy Brown, Commissioner Steve Barnard, Commissioner Burton Carter, County Manager Scott Moye, Downtown Waycross Development Authority executive director Edward Cady and Dan Littlefield of Littlefield Construction. Clinch County Sheriff Raymond Peterson attended, along with Clinch County Commissioner Roger Metts, Argyle Mayor Kaye Riley, and Libby Shaw.