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September 8--  After more than 20 years of bouncing around the state highway department's bureaucracy, the project to four-lane U.S. Highway One north of Lyons is ready to start construction.

According to Toombs County Commission Chairman Buddy West, "I just got an official email this morning stating the project has been awarded.  This has been a long time waiting and I didn't know if it would ever happen."

McLendon Enterprises of Vidalia submitted the low bid to widen nearly 8.5 miles of U.S. One from Oak Park to the northern city limits of Lyons and build two new bridges over Pendleton Creek.  The cost of the contract is $23,071,664.98.

"You always want to keep it local and I'm glad a local vendor got it because of the economy and we all know what the job situation is in this area," West said.

The work is slated to be completed by May 31, 2014 and West says leaders are already pushing to widen U.S. One south of Lyons to the Appling County line including replacement of the Altamaha River Bridge.

"That's our number one project as far as a regional project for Toombs and  Appling County.  I've talked with the Commission Chairman in Appling County and we agree it's a project that will be beneficial to both counties," he reports.

In order for the southern leg to proceed, voters will have to approve a regional one percent sales tax for transportation in a referendum in 2012.