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Morning headlines: Changes coming to Prince Avenue later this month

The changes in the Prince Avenue pilot project would reduce the number of motor vehicle lanes from four to three and add separated bike lanes.
ACC Government
The changes in the Prince Avenue pilot project would reduce the number of motor vehicle lanes from four to three and add separated bike lanes.

Changes are coming to Prince Avenue later this month - at least temorarily.

Work is set to begin in a few weeks on a roughly half-mile stretch of the road that will do away with two vehicle lanes in each direction in favor of three lanes – one in each direction with a center turn lane, along with separated bike lanes. The change is set to last just 60 days once the temporary work is complete.

The county has more information on the project, including an interactive map online.

ACC Commissioners expected to update finding for Food Bank

Athens-Clarke County Commissioners are expected to update a grant program funding a new distribution facility for the Food Bank of Northeast Georgia.

The item is tied to an $8.8 million allocation to the Food Bank from the Georgia Department of Community Affairs. The organization’s new facility will be located across the street from its current location at 890 Newton Bridge Road, and will encompass 63,000 square feet, representing a 65% increase over its current capacity.

The Food Bank has been at its current location since 1997 and serves a 14-county area in Northeast Georgia. A date for a groundbreaking has not been announced.

Georgia ports continue to show major economic impact

A new economic impact study prepared by the University of Georgia Terry College of Business finds that Georgia’s ports continue to have a significant impact on the state's economy.

The facilities in Savannah and Brunswick support 561,000 jobs across the state, up more than 50,000 jobs from two years ago. The ports’ impact in a year is $140 billion, 12% of the state’s economy.

The Port of Brunswick is primarily a transit point for vehicles. The Port of Savannah handles containers loaded on and off huge ships that move through a recently deepened channel.

Economist Jeff Humphreys, director of the UGA Selig Center for Growth says there’s one chance in ten that any Georgian owes their job to the state’s ports. While the ports have a modest direct impact to the overall Georgia economy, logistics companies and retailers also hire thousands of drivers and warehouse workers who move and store cargo. In recent years there has also been a surge of construction in the Savannah area as retailers add massive warehouse and distribution centers near the port.

ACC COVID rate remains high

Athens-Clarke County remains at a high level of community transmission for COVID-19, according to the CDC. That’s also the case in Barrow County, while Oconee, Jackson, Madison, and Oglethorpe Counties are seeing a medium level of transmission. Athens-Clarke County’s mask mandate remains in effect for Athens Transit and in county government buildings.

Martin Matheny is WUGA's Program Director and a host and producer of our local news program 'Athens News Matters.' He started at WUGA in 2012 as a part-time classical music host and still hosts WUGA's longest-running local program 'Night Music' which is heard on WUGA and GPB Classical. He lives in Normaltown with his wife, Shaye and dog, Murphy.