Motorists who travel Highway 57, also known as “Kite Road,” mark your calendars for June. Help is coming! The Georgia Department of Transportation announced in December that Everett Dykes Grassing had been awarded the $1.072 million repave project from the Johnson County line to U.S. Highway 1, and Kyle Collins, district communications specialist for GDOT’s East Central Georgia District Office, confirmed to The Chronicle on Monday, April 5, the work should begin in about two months.
The last time GDOT worked on Highway 57 was in 2015. According to Collins, maintenance crews at that time completed “strip sealing,” which is used when isolated areas show excessive block and load cracking. This work is performed in the wheel path and does not cover center or edge lines. Since then, however, the condition of Highway 57 has declined severely.
The Georgia Department of Transportation monitors and rates pavement conditions while classifying highways on a low, medium, and critical scale. Highways with higher traffic volumes and more lane miles typically live higher on the priority list. Highway 57, Collins said, is “medium” on the priority scale.
“Roadways have a limited life cycle. Daily use by vehicles creates wear and tear that is exacerbated by the elements,” he said. “Water is the biggest enemy to roadway maintenance. That’s why you see GDOT or contractors on our behalf performing work like strip sealing, crack sealing (black snakes on the highway), and asphalt patching to keep roadways from further deteriorating until we can program larger maintenance project or a full repave like this upcoming job.”
The Highway 57 job was let out for bid in November 2020, and Everett, presenting the best bid package, was awarded the job December 4.
The official completion date is set for October 31, 2021. Collins expects majority completion of the lanes, pending final striping, grassing, and so on, to take 1.5 months, dependent on the weather. Because the project only covers 8.4 miles, he added that crews may knock the project out even sooner than the expected approximate 45 days.
“Considering that our 27-county district has more than 7,000 lane miles and that just one mile of traditional asphalt costs well over $100,000, the public should understand that we can’t have new blacktop going down as much as we’d like. That’s why we use maintenance projects in the interim to stretch tax dollars further and touch more roads in more communities,” Collins explained. “Georgia DOT is committed to providing the best transportation system. Projects like the Highway 57/Kite Road repaving are part of our effort to preserve and maintain one of Georgia’s best investments: our roads.”