Cochran Bypass Lanes Opening Months Ahead of Schedule

COCHRAN – The newly reconstructed and widened four-mile State Route 87/Cochran Bypass will have all four lanes open to drivers Wednesday, Nov. 13, over nine months ahead of the contract completion date.

This $22.39 million project, awarded to Everett Dykes Grassing Company, features improvements from just south of State Route 87 Business to Holly Ross Road. In addition to the extra lanes, an overpass bridge was erected over the Norfolk Southern Railroad, replacing an at-grade crossing. The State Route 87 Business intersection past the new bridge on the way to Eastman was realigned as well. 

Traffic operational upgrades at Dykes Street/State Route 26 and Chester Road/State Route 126 contribute to a much more efficient drive at peak Bleckley County School hours. Overall, the increased capacity means a higher level of service and safety for nearly 8,000 daily drivers.

State Rep. Danny Mathis (R-Cochran) said the extra lanes are a great addition, especially when combined with similar State Route 87 construction ongoing in Dodge County. The rural District 144 representative understands how better highways keep constituents safe, while making communities more competitive for economic development.

“I think it’s a great thing for Cochran,” Mathis said. “As our state’s commerce continues to grow with the Savannah Port expansion, we have to keep up and make sure the rural areas have the road infrastructure that’s accessible to companies.I applaud GDOT for working on those things.”

State Transportation Board Chairman Tim Golden, who represents the 8th Congressional District, said the expanded Cochran highway is vital given its connectivity to the Golden Isles Parkway, which serves as one of Georgia’s 19 designated economic development highways.

“The numbers prove a significant decrease in accidents when multi-lane facilities replace two-lane roadways. This reconstructed roadway supports better movement of goods and services, while keeping local travelers safe,” Golden said. “Kudos to our GDOT staff and contractors involved to deliver this major project faster than expectations and most importantly on budget.”

Work began on Dec. 1, 2016 with the official completion date resting at August 31, 2020. Though all lanes will open this week, citizens will still see various small-scale activities in the project area.

The original two-lane route was built in the 1980s to divert truck traffic from the downtown Cochran area. Former Bleckley County Commissioner Jackie Holder was influential in his work with the Georgia Department of Transportation supporting this truck route. He was recently honored by the Georgia General Assembly dedicating this section the Jackie Holder Bypass.