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DOT reshuffles construction timeline: Jackson Co work is expedited
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DOT reshuffles construction timeline: Jackson Co work is expedited

DOT reshuffles construction timeline: Jackson Co work is expedited

DOT reshuffles construction timeline: Jackson Co work is expedited

The Georgia DOT says widening work on I-85 in Jackson County will done sooner than originally anticipated: the DOT is amending the timeline on some of its projects in metro Atlanta, with some that will now take longer than first projected. That includes work on new toll lanes on parts of I-285 and Georgia Highway 400. From David Wickert, AJC…

 

As The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported Monday, the Georgia Department of Transportation has pushed back construction of metro Atlanta toll lanes while accelerating road projects elsewhere. 

Toll lanes along the top half of the Perimeter were originally scheduled to be completed by 2028. Now they won’t be finished until 2032. Completion of toll lanes on Ga. 400 in Fulton and Forsyth counties has been pushed back from 2024 to 2027. 

Meanwhile, GDOT is accelerating construction of truck lanes on I-75 between Macon and McDonough and the widening of I-85 to U.S. 129 northeast of Atlanta.                   

It’s a major reshuffling of the timeline for the 10-year road-building program unveiled by then-Gov. Nathan Deal in 2016. GDOT cited numerous reasons for the changes, including increased freight traffic out of Savannah and a desire to break up the “top end” I-285 toll lanes into smaller projects to encourage more construction companies to bid on the work. 

The new timeline includes half a dozen smaller projects along I-285. They originally were part of larger express lanes projects, but will be broken into smaller projects.

Among other things, GDOT says the delay in toll-road construction will give it more time to work with local officials who have requested various changes to the construction plans. The agency says the delay also will allow it to consider transit options for the affected corridors

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Local News

  • Piedmont Athens Regional Medical Center broke ground today on the final phase of its $171 million expansion and renovation project, which includes replacing the oldest section of the hospital – built 100 years ago – with a new, seven-story patient tower.    Hospital staff and community members gathered for a groundbreaking ceremony to celebrate the start of construction.    “This groundbreaking is a huge milestone for our hospital’s project and we’re very excited to be celebrating this with our community,” said Piedmont Athens Regional Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Michael Burnett. “We appreciate everyone who joined us to celebrate as we say goodbye to some of the oldest patient hospital rooms in Georgia and welcome a newly-constructed, state-of-the art building to our hospital’s campus.”    In October 2018, Piedmont Athens Regional officially kicked off the expansion and renovation project, with the first phase including the addition of a new patient unit on the hospital’s Prince Tower II, located on the corner of Prince and King avenues.   With the final phase, the hospital’s construction team – DPR Construction – will begin the process of building the new patient tower, replacing what is known as the 1919 Tower.    The 1919 Tower, which is a section of the hospital’s Prince Tower I, is currently the oldest section of the hospital, built 100 years ago when the hospital first opened as a three-story, 100-bed community hospital that featured two operating rooms, a delivery room and a 24-member medical staff.    The new tower that will replace the 1919 Tower will stand seven-stories high, which includes a basement and lobby level, and will feature state-of-the-art equipment and replace outdated patient and staff areas. It also will improve wayfinding and the overall experience for patients, visitors and staff.   “This new tower will have a more modern look and feel, and these changes are intended to foster safe, efficient patient flow and minimize delays while our staff deliver high-quality patient-centered care to our patients,” said David Sailors, M.D., vascular surgeon and chair of Piedmont Athens Regional’s Board of Directors. “As Piedmont Athens Regional says goodbye to the 1919 Tower, it welcomes a state-of-the-art, newly renovated space that will ultimately provide a better experience for our patients and better serve our community.”   Piedmont Athens Regional’s new patient tower will also feature a retail pharmacy, café and resource center for patients and visitors.    Construction is estimated to be completed in 2022. Once complete, the hospital’s capacity will remain at 359 beds.      “We’re very grateful for the support of our community during this construction project,” said Burnett. “The Piedmont Athens Regional team is looking forward to continuing serve the healthcare needs of those in Athens-Clarke and surrounding communities through this new addition to our hospital.”  
  • A 21-year-old woman was struck by a car and killed Wednesday evening while walking through Lula, authorities said. State troopers were dispatched to the fatal pedestrian crash near City Hall about 7:30 p.m., the Georgia State Patrol said in a statement. The woman killed was identified as Lula resident Stacey Lynn Cash. Investigators determined Cash was walking north on Main Street when a woman driving the opposite direction struck and killed her. Cash was wearing dark clothing and walking in the roadway when she was struck, police said. The driver who hit her will not be charged.
  • The Morton Theatre marks an anniversary with a concert: the Morehouse College Glee Club performs, 7 o’clock tonight at the Morton on Washington Street in downtown Athens. The Morton Theatre is celebrating its 110th anniversary. From the Morton Theatre website…   The Morton Theatre Corporation presents the internationally acclaimed Morehouse College Glee Club in concert at the Morton Theatre. Join us as we continue to celebrate the Morton's 110th Anniversary Season! #LiveAtTheMorton  DATE & TIME: Friday, January 24, 2020; 7:00 PM   PRESENTED BY: Morton Theatre Corporation ADMISSION: $25 Orchestra Level, $20 Balcony Seats
  • Engineering and technology researchers from around the world will gather at the University of Georgia next month for REV2020, the 17th International Conference on Remote Engineering and Virtual Instrumentation. More than 100 faculty members, students and industry representatives are expected to attend the conference, which will be held at the Georgia Center for Continuing Education & Hotel Feb. 25 through Feb. 28. The theme of the conference – “Cross Reality and Data Science in Engineering” – focuses on topics such as online engineering, cyber-physical systems and the Internet of Things, including remote engineering and virtual instrumentation. “In a globally connected world, the interest in online collaboration, teleworking, remote services and other digital working environments is rapidly increasing,” said Dominik May, an assistant professor in UGA’s Engineering Education Transformations Institute and the conference organizer. “The objective of this conference is to contribute and discuss fundamentals, applications and experiences in the fields of online and remote engineering, virtual instrumentation and other related new technologies.” The conference will feature keynotes by international researchers and industry leaders from companies including UL, Siemens and Phoenix Contact. Keynote topics include Data Science and Big Data in Asia; Meaningful Learning with Technologies; and Big Data – The Data-Driven Approach to Education of the Future? Workshops, tutorials and research presentations round out the conference agenda. REV2020 is hosted by the University of the Georgia College of Engineering, the International Association of Online Engineering, UGA’s Engineering Education Transformations Institute, and UGA’s Georgia Informatics Institutes for Research and Education.
  • University of Georgia professor Richard Winfield (pictured above) says he is a candidate for the US Senate: Winfield, who teaches philosophy at UGA, will run as a Democrat in a special election to fill the unexpired term of Republican Johnny Isakson, who stepped down in December and was replaced by Atlanta businesswoman Kelly Loeffler. She was appointed by Governor Brian Kemp. This is Winfield’s second try for elective office: he waged an unsuccessful congressional campaign two years ago.    28 year-old AJ Spitzner is an IT specialist in Butts County: the Newton County native says he will run as a Democrat for the US House seat now held by Republican Jody Hice. Hice represents the 10th House District that covers most of Athens-Clarke County. 

Bulldog News

  • ATHENS Georgia suffered a 70-60 home loss to Ole Miss, a sellout crowd and decisive rebounding advantage not enough to get the Bulldogs back on track. The Rebels (10-9, 1-5 SEC) snapped a a six-game losing streak with the upset over Georgia (11-8, 1-5), which has lost two of its last three at home after opening the season 8-0 in Stegeman Coliseum. Georgia freshman Anthony Edwards continued his struggles with 13 points on 3-of-12 shooting. Ten of Edwards' attempts came from behind the arc, his inability to get to the rim out of the half court offense surfacing once again. Senior Jordan Harris led the Bulldogs with 15 points and eight rebounds in a game that saw UGA hold a decisive 38-28 advantage on the boards. Georgia however, couldn't overcome its poor shooting (17 of 55, 30.9 percent) while Ole Miss was an efficient 26 of 50 (52 percent). The loss marks UGA's first three-game losing streak of the season, sending many of the10,523 in attendance to the exits early as Ole Miss pulled away late. The Rebels threatened to run away at the start of the second half, scoring the first five points after intermission to make a 40-29, before Tom Crean called time out with 17:17 left. The Bulldogs responded with a 9-0 run sparked by a Harris 3-pointer and consecutive drives to the basket by Sahvir Wheeler (11 points) that resulted in a bucket and two free throws that cut the lead to 40-38 with 13:44 left. Moments later, Edwards pulled the trigger on a 3-pointer from the wing that put Georgia up 43-42 with 12:31 left and sent the crowd into a frenzy. It was the Bulldogs' first lead since a 13-12 advantage early, and Edwards first points since the 16:07 mark of the first half. It proved to be the final lead for Georgia. Ole Miss wrestled the lead back on a pair of J.J. Buffen (14 points) free throws the next trip down and didn't trail again. Breein Tyree scored 20 points to lead the Rebels. Georgia was down 35-29 at the end of the first half, a victim of its own 9 turnovers and 33 percent shooing (9 of 27). Ole Miss led by as many as 10 points, 32-22, before the Bulldogs battled back. Harris scored on a drive to the basket and hit a trey, and then Edwards capped the 7-0 run with a pair of free throws to make it 32-29. The Rebels scored the final three points of the half, the Bulldogs missing four shots on their final possession, squandering offensive rebounds. Georgia returns to action at 7 p.m. on Tuesday at Missouri (9-10, 1-5 SEC) before returning to Athens to play host to Texas A&M (9-9, 3-3) next Saturday. DawgNation Georgia Basketball Georgia comes up short in hard-fought loss at Kentucky Mississippi State wins battle of Bulldogs in Starkville, decisively Anthony Edwards puts the squeeze on Tennessee in blowout win Georgia falls in first SEC road game of season at Auburn Freshman Anthony Edwards discloses injury, status Sahvir Wheeler on clutch game-winner, 'been there a ton of times' Tom Izzo on Georgia: 'That was an incredible comeback' Anthony Edwards lights up Michigan State for 37 in 93-85 loss Rayshaun Hammonds wrecks Georgia Tech Anthony Edwards draws standing ovation in opener The post Anthony Edwards struggles against Ole Miss, Georgia basketball hits three-game skid appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATHENS The Georgia football offensive staff gyrations have continued into the weekend, and the next one could be processed as early as next week. Former Bulldogs' director of player personnel Marshall Malchow is headed to Texas A&M.DawgNation reported on Friday that former offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach James Coley was headed to work for the Aggies. RELATED: James Coley leaves Georgia football staff, as expected The 247Sports network was first to report the news on Malchow on Saturday. Georgia coach Kirby Smart made Coley expendable when he hired former NFL offensive coordinator Todd Monken on Jan. 17 to take over the offense and play-calling. Monken was in attendance at the Bulldogs' basketball game on Saturday, part of UGA' big weekend filled with key visitors. RELATED: Todd Monken trades 'total mess' for championship quest The writing was on the wall for Coley and other assistants closely tied to him last Monday. The hiring of former Southern Miss offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Buster Faulkner last Monday temporarily as an offensive analyst was more evidence Coley was likely on his way out. RELATED: Kirby Smart hires QB coach Buster Faulkner to offensive staff Faulkner is the odds-on favorite to fill the staff position vacated by Coley, though nothing is official at this point. Former UGA All-American Jon Stinchcomb told DawgNation that Faulkner was the right fit to work with Monken. 'You just brought in someone with experience with the NFL ranks who knows what it looks like when you have some of the elite athletes on the planet playing for you,' Stinchcomb said in regard to Monken. 'Buster comes from a background where you have to create a little more opportunities because you don't have that same level of talent. 'I think this new role for him is a great compliment to coach Monken being hired and the rest of the staff.' The departure of Malchow, an Alabama graduate, represents more collateral damage from Coley taking his recruiting prowess to Jimbo Fisher's staff in College Station. Coley has previously worked for Fisher at Florida State. Smart, who has stayed silent throughout the changes, traditionally holds a February signing day press conference, at which point he could address the new Georgia staff. More from DawgNation Georgia offseason has produced fascinating offensive change Football stars endorse Todd Monken hire at Georgia WATCH: 2021 commit Brock Vandagriff shares story with DawgNation Podcast: Brandon Adams shares his take on Brock Vandagriff addition Kirby Smart has turned Georgia offense upside down Why Buster Faukner a perfect complement to Todd Monken The post Georgia football changes continue, another staff member leaves for Texas A&M appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATHENS Georgia basketball returns to the friendly confines of Stegeman Coliseum where the team is 9-1 his season, seemingly, just in time. The Bulldogs (11-7. 1-4 SEC) play host to Ole Miss (9-9, 0-5) at 5:30 p.m. (TV: SEC Network) in desperate need of a victory to rekindle any sort of NCAA tournament hopes. The fan support is certainly there. The only remaining Georgia home basketball games with tickets available this season are South Carolina (Feb. 12) and Auburn (Feb. 19). This, even though virtually no one outside the program is projecting Coach Tom Crean's young team, filled with nine freshmen on the roster, to make the so-called Big Dance. Even with projected NBA lottery pick Anthony Edwards on the roster. Still, sophomore Tye Fagan and freshman Toumani Camara confirmed that is indeed the long-term season goal, even if the focus never goes beyond one game. 'Most definitely, without a doubt, we take each game one at a time so we're not thinking so far into the future,' said Fagan, who's coming off a 6-of-6, 13-point shooting performance at Kentucky last Tuesday. 'But that is the goal.' The surge from the 6-foot-8 Camara over the last 12 games, has provided a boost. Camara is UGA's second leading rebounder (5.2 rpg) and third on the team in scoring (7.6 ppg) and minutes played (26.9 mpg) in that span. But the Bulldogs, No. 56 in the projected RPI rankings, had better get back on the winning track and take advantage of the softer stretch of the schedule. After opening the 2020 with six opponents and seven games against teams that played in last year's NCAA tournament and going 2-4 in that stretch so far, with wins at Memphis and against Tennessee Georgia's schedule lightens up this week. Saturday's Ole Miss home game is followed by a road trop to Missouri (9-9, 1-5) on Tuesday, and then a home game with Texas A&M (9-8, 3-3) next Saturday. Crean, understandably, isn't losing sight of the task at hand against the Rebels. ' Right now we're focused on how we get ready for Ole Miss,' Crean said. 'I had the number one team in the country and wasn't talking about the NCAA Tournament, back at Indiana. 'What you do is you focus. We're in late January here. We focus on the team and what we have to do and be absolutely wrapped up in that.' Crean said he's not certain if freshman point guard Sahvir Wheeler is back at 100 percent after suffering an ankle injury in the 80-63 win over Tennessee on Jan. 15. Wheeler has played the last two games, but he has last the explosion and quickness that makes him so effective. He has scoring just one basket and dished out two assists in the last 38 minutes he played against Mississippi State and Kentucky. Edwards continues to lead the nation's freshmen in scoring with 18.9 points per game, but he's still learning to get to the rim and overcome the extra attention defenses are paying to him. Edwards was held scoreless in the first half at Kentucky last Tuesday night before scoring 16 points in a second half at Rupp Arena that saw the Bulldogs fail to get closer than seven points. RELATED: Too little, too late from Anthony Edwards at Kentucky Crean, however, defends Edwards' youth and is focusing on developing him like he does every other player. ' I came in knowing we're going to have to develop him every day, help him grow every day,' Crean said. 'It's all different when you get them and how they process, how they learn, what do they have to get better at, how they apply it, how you build confidence, how you tweak them, how you challenge them is all a part of the daily process. We're just right in the midst of that and I'm enjoying it.' A win over Ole Miss would make Crean and Georgia enjoy the process of the team growing more, as well as keeping what appears to be scant NCAA tourney hopes alive. DawgNation Georgia Basketball Georgia comes up short in hard-fought loss at Kentucky Mississippi State wins battle of Bulldogs in Starkville, decisively Anthony Edwards puts the squeeze on Tennessee in blowout win Georgia falls in first SEC road game of season at Auburn Georgia basketball delivers signature Top 10 win at Memphis Freshman Anthony Edwards discloses injury, status Sahvir Wheeler on clutch game-winner, 'been there a ton of times' Tom Izzo on Georgia: 'That was an incredible comeback' Anthony Edwards lights up Michigan State for 37 in 93-85 loss Rayshaun Hammonds wrecks Georgia Tech Anthony Edwards draws standing ovation in opener The post Georgia basketball returns to home sellout, desperate for win over Ole Miss appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATHENS Georgia has the quarterback and the coaching expertise to flip the offense, and from Terry Bowden's perspective, that should be enough to get a new-look offense off and running. Bowden was holding court wearing Clemson gear two days before the College Football Playoff Championship Game. The fact he's now a graduate assistant with the Tigers does nothing to dilute Bowden's knowledge or experience flipping an offense to a mobile quarterback. RELATED: Mark Richt says Jamie Newman can adapt to any system ' Once you make the decision that's where you need to go and you see a lot of the pros doing it now, you see college teams that make that move, and it starts with a quarterback that can do that,' Bowden told DawgNation. 'I think the other parts of that block with the right assistants,' the 63-year-old former Auburn, North Alabama and Akron head coach said. 'You have to have people that know what their doing in that capacity, and you've got to have a quarterback you believe in.' Georgia certainly checks all the boxes. RELATED: Georgia creates buzz with Todd Monken hire The Bulldogs return mobile quarterbacks in redshirt junior Stetson Bennett, redshirt freshman D'Wan Mathis and incoming freshman Carson Beck. The biggest offseason player addition, however, has been Wake Forest graduate transfer quarterback Jamie Newman. Pro Football Focus ranks Newman the No. 3 returning quarterback in college football and recently projected Georgia football the preseason No. 3 team. Bowden, 63, knows all about high rankings after winning his first 20 games as the Tigers' head coach after replacing Pat Dye before the 1993 season. Georgia snapped the streak with a 23-23 tie at Auburn, and Bowden lost his first game as the Tigers' head coach the following week to Alabama, 21-14. Bowden left Auburn halfway through the 1998 season with a 47-17-1 record at Auburn. After 10 years out of coaching working as a television analyst, Bowden returned to coaching at North Alabama, a Division ll school where he was 29-9 with playoff appearances each three seasons. Bowden moved on to Akron from there, ultimately resuscitating the Zips' downtrodden program with an 8-5 season in 2015 that included the program's first-ever bowl game victory. More history was made in 2018, when Bowden's Akron team beat Northwestern for the school's first win over a Big Ten team since 1894. The Zips, however, finished 4-8 and Bowden was fired. That led Bowden to the opportunity at Clemson, that came with the graduate assistant provision. It's surely a snap for Bowden, who graduated magna cum laude from West Virginia with a degree in accounting. Bowden did postgraduate work at Oxford University in England and earned a law degree from Florida State. 'Thirty-seven years ago, I graduated from law school, and the next year I became a football coach, and we didn't have internet, and we didn't have computers,' Bowden said, putting his unique situation in perspective. 'Thirty-seven years later, in order to be a coach on the field, I have to be a student. So I got accepted to Clemson grad school, and I'm getting a Master's in athletic leadership. I've got two classes this semester and they are online and that's been kind of fun.' Bowden seems to think offenses that employ mobile quarterbacks are apt to have more fun and success on Saturdays. 'I don't feel like you need to go to a running quarterback, but you must have a quarterback that's mobile, and Joe Burrow is mobile,' Bowden said, tying he conversation into the game he was preparing for at the time. 'The guy can scramble, but he's not a running quarterback. He is a drop-back, classic quarterback that has what you need.' No doubt, Burrow put on a show against Clemson in the CFP Championship Game. Georgia fans are yearning for an offense with the same explosive elements and big-play potential. Bowden explained how a running quarterback changes the dynamics by simple math. 'Anytime your quarterback runs the football, it gives you one more blocker,' Bowden said. 'And if they've got any safeties sitting up high upfield, that evens you up pretty good in the blocking department. 'So once your quarterback either scrambles well, or you devise a few plays that allow him to run, you have created plays that are in (your) favor for the offense, in numbers, that you just don't have when the quarterback is just a fake or a disguise.' More from DawgNation Football stars endorse Todd Monken hire at Georgia WATCH: 2021 commit Brock Vandagriff shares story with DawgNation Podcast: Brandon Adams shares his take on Brock Vandagriff addition Kirby Smart has turned Georgia offense upside down Why Buster Faukner a perfect complement to Todd Monken The post Georgia offense flipping script: Terry Bowden's thoughts on drop-back to dual-threat transition appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATHENS Georgia offensive coordinator James Coley is making the move most everyone anticipated when head coach Kirby Smart added new offensive coordinator Todd Monken last Monday. Coley, 46, is expected to join the Texas A&M coaching staff, according to a UGA source with direct knowledge of the situation and TexasAg.com. Coley, who also coached quarterbacks last season, had recently been named assistant head coach on the UGA staff, but he was no longer designated a position group. RELATED: Coley status updated Coley's status at UGA became more tenuous when Smart hired Southern Miss offensive coordinator Buster Faulkner last Monday, assigning him an off-field coaching position as an analyst. The move triggered speculation that Coley could be on the way out sooner than later, and any concept of him working with Monken was a long shot. Coley has been on Smart's staff since the fifth-year head coach took over the program before the 2016 season. He was promoted to co-offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach in 2018, receiving a raise from $450,000 to $850,000 as he reportedly declined a chance to join Jimbo Fisher's Texas A&M staff as OC. Coley became the full-time OC last January when Jim Chaney departed the UGA staff for the Tennessee OC Job and was bumped up to $950,000 the highest paid assistant on the staff. Sam Pittman, who was the second-highest paid assistant at $900,000 departed the staff earlier this offseason to become the Arkansas head coach. Former Ole Miss head coach Matt Luke replaced Pittman in December at the same salary, $900,000. The Bulldogs went 12-2 and finished No. 4 in the nation last season, running up a 5-1 mark against teams that were in the Top 25. A championship-level defense didn't often need much support on offense, and the game plans had a familiar emphasis on efficiency, ball control and balance. UGA ran the strong legs of tailback D'Andre Swift, who gained more than 1,200 yards and was the team's most consistent and explosive skill position player until a shoulder injury derailed him the final two games of the season. WATCH: James Coley defends Jake Fromm, explains offensive issues 'It's who you have out there and who you're trying to feature,' Coley said at his Sugar Bowl press conference. 'So what gives you the best chance: Giving the ball to the tailback who's a really good player, or throwing the ball to a young guy who may not be ready for that moment yet? You know what I mean?' Still, the offense struggled at times, finishing 50th in the nation in scoring offense, 61st in total offense and 72nd in passing yards. A rash of injuries in the receiving corps was compounded by QB Jake Fromm having some uncharacteristic off games. Coley explained during a Sugar Bowl press conference in New Orleans that the lack of consistency in the pass game, and with Fromm, was closely tied to the injuries at receiver. ' It happens when you get injuries; you get guys in the game that haven't played in a while, or it's their first chance and they are a little nervous and they take their routes a little deeper than where they should be,' Coley said. 'It ends up looking like the guy (Fromm) was not playing as good as he was a year ago.' Georgia and Fromm rallied in the Sugar Bowl with 26-14 win over Baylor, Fromm passing for 250 yards and 2 touchdowns on 20-of-30 passing. It snapped a skid of five straight games where Fromm's completion percentage had dipped under 50 percent. The statistical slump aligned with senior go-to receiver Lawrence Cager missing time and games on account of injuries. Coley pointed out Fromm's completion percentage with Cager on the field was 71 percent. Smart cited the team's 'merry-go round' at receiver when assessing the offensive issues, but he also pledged to fix the offense after the season. The addition of Wake Forest graduate transfer QB Jamie Newman and incoming freshman QB Carson Beck provided a boost in personnel, and then came the addition of the high-profile offensive staff members. The post Former Georgia football OC James Coley leaves staff, headed to Texas A&M appeared first on DawgNation.