American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) American Transportation Awards
ATLANTA – The Georgia Department of Transportation announced today the Chattahoochee Riverwalk Project in Columbus won an American Transportation Award in the category “Quality of Life/Community Development, small project,” from the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO).
The Riverwalk was conceived as an opportunity to create a wonderful public amenity on the banks of the Chattahoochee River for walking, jogging and biking, extending from Lake Oliver in the north to Fort Benning in the south. However, the idea was born out of the necessity to address sewer problems within the city of Columbus. While that work was being completed adjacent to the Chattahoochee river, local leaders saw an opportunity to reverse a century or more of the city turning its back on the river, and instead use the riverfront as an asset.
The Riverwalk project began in 1992, but it wasn’t until 2012, with assistance from the Transportation Investment Act (TIA) that three disjointed sections were connected to form a contiguous 22-mile trail. TIA provided the funding mechanism to complete the project and add to the quality of life improvement in the area.
“The Riverwalk has been the catalyst driving economic growth in this community. It’s an amenity that has enhanced Columbus as a whole, and served to fulfill some serious needs. I equate this to completing a major highway through a city with all the development and life improvements that brings,” said Rick Jones, Director of Planning, Columbus Consolidated Government.
The America’s Transportation Awards competition was created to showcase the tremendous projects delivered by state departments of transportation every year that tell the broader story on the importance of transportation. As a regional winner, the project will also be considered for inclusion in the competition’s “Top 12,” which will be announced later in the year.
In 2012, voters in three Georgia regions – River Valley (RV), Central Savannah River Area (CSRA) and the Heart of Georgia Altamaha (HOGA) – approved a 10 year one percent sales tax to fund regional and local transportation improvements. The Southern Georgia (SG) Region passed the referendum in 2018. Prior to the votes, regional roundtables of local elected officials, with significant public input, selected projects for each region’s Approved Investment List. Combined, these lists represent 1,023 TIA-funded projects. As of August 2020, 623 TIA projects have been completed and another 137 are currently under construction.
About the Georgia Department of Transportation
Georgia Department of Transportation plans, constructs and maintains Georgia’s state and federal highways. We’re involved in bridge, waterway, public transit, rail, general aviation, bike and pedestrian programs. And we help local governments maintain their roads. Georgia DOT and its nearly 4,000 employees are committed to delivering a transportation system focused on innovation, safety, sustainability and mobility. The Department’s vision is to boost Georgia’s competitiveness through leadership in transportation.