Local Governments at Odds

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The Oak Street extension in the Valdosta-Lowndes County area has become a sore subject when it comes to the city and county governments.

The Department of Transportation agreed to fund the widening of the road, but the city and the county have different ideas on how many lanes should be added, and where.

Lowndes County Manager Joe Pritchard said, "The question is how we at the county will support an initiative that's being proposed by the city engineering department that would limit the amount of lanes on the county portion of Oak Street extension."

City engineers said if the DOT sticks to its original plan and makes the road a five-laned highway, it will have a negative effect on traffic flow in that area.

City engineer Von Shipman said, "The county's project is affecting us because we can't handle the additional traffic that will start funneling in from the north part of the county into an area that's already tied up with enough traffic."

County officials said they won't turn down the funding for something that will definitely be needed in the near future.

Pritchard said, "It is our contention that the DOT has spent a great deal of time and money on this project, they gave been willing to allocate the funds for five lanes. It would not be in, I think, the best interest of either the city or the county to turn down funds that are already approved."

Both governments will present their case to the DOT, which will ultimately make the decision.