SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) — This week the Georgia Department of Transportation (Georgia DOT) earned a regional award in the 2022 America’s Transportation Awards competition at the Southern Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials Annual Meeting (SASHTO) held in Biloxi, Mississippi.

Georgia DOT’s winning submission, “The Talbotton Road Project: Capacity, Pedestrian and Transit Improvements,” won in the Operations, Excellence category and competed alongside projects of similar size and scope in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and West Virginia.

The Talbotton Road improvement projects required Georgia DOT to upgrade a former two-lane road that services two hospitals, medical facilities and a university, and had no safe accommodations for pedestrians, in an area of Columbus, Georgia that had become a more urban environment.

According to the United states Department of Transportation, in recent years, Georgia has ranked 8th nationally in pedestrian fatality rates.

The completed Talbotton Road improvement project helps in preventing deaths as the Georgia DOT converted the existing two lane road into a four-lane highway with a continuous center turn lane, thus greatly increasing capacity, reducing congestion and improving safety and mobility by removing backups caused by left-turning vehicles.

Additionally, a sidewalk on both sides of the highway was added to provide pedestrian infrastructure which offered connectivity to businesses, hospitals, the university, and link to walking and bike trails. The sidewalk also allows for safer stops that serve riders of the Columbus transit system.

In a written statement Meg Pirkle, Georgia DOT Chief Engineer stated, “Georgia DOT’s first obligation is to provide safe and efficient transportation options to the citizens of Georgia. Winning an America’s Transportation Award for this project is confirmation of the excellence the department strives to achieve every day with that commitment top of mind.”

The America’s Transportation Awards recognizes state DOTs and highlights the projects they deliver that make their communities better places to live, work, and play.