On the heels of the announcement of $12 million in federal funding to address Millen’s railroad crossing issues by Georgia’s U.S. Senators, Governor Brian Kemp is doubling down with state support.
His office said Thursday that GDOT will provide an additional $3 million in matching funds for this effort, calling the project a "culmination of well over a year of work and close partnership between local and state-level leaders, as well as private partners like Norfolk Southern Corp., to address this issue."
Kemp also said the project has been expedited.
From the news release:
The grant award will fund the first stage of a project aimed at resolving traffic disruptions caused by frequent blockages at railroad crossings in the City of Millen. These interruptions impact both local and freight traffic, hindering connectivity and posing safety concerns for residents and businesses in the area. Millen serves as a direct connection to the Port of Savannah terminal facilities and plays a crucial role in the state's transportation network. Prior to this grant award, GDOT had already deployed Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) equipment, providing advanced warnings to drivers and mitigating the impact of rail blockages to help alleviate the problem while working on a long-term solution. The ITS equipment was strategically installed at seven locations to offer timely warnings, allowing drivers to adjust their travel patterns and avoid blockages.
The project, identified in the 2021 GDOT State Rail Plan as a long-range investment, has been expedited due to the urgency of the situation in Millen. The ultimate goal of the project is to eliminate the at-grade crossing on the Millen Bypass, further improving safety, connectivity, and mobility for the community. The increased efficiency of freight movements on the Millen Bypass will contribute to the economic vitality of the region.
The Millen project aligns with the state's broader efforts to invest in infrastructure, enhance transportation systems, and support economic growth. Read more about the grant award here.
“I’m grateful to the Governor for hearing the concerns of our citizens and businesses and for leading state government to find solutions to the regular disruptions to our city," said Mayor King Rocker, City of Millen. "As Mayor, I’m excited to continue working with experts at the state and at Norfolk Southern Railroad to put those solutions in place, like this rural transportation grant that will lead to a bridge over the railroad tracks at GA21. This next stage would not be possible without the Governor’s support and Georgia DOT’s efforts to help us apply for that grant.”