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Family fears for safety after mailbox lands in middle of Veterans Parkway project

For the past month, a Columbus pastor hasn’t been able to get mail from his box until 9 or 10 p.m. in the 8000 block of Veterans Parkway.

Construction to widen a 1.1-mile stretch of the busy highway from Old Moon Road north to Turnberry Lane has left the family’s mailbox in the middle of the construction zone. In his late 60s, the pastor has a difficult time trying to maneuver between the traffic and construction equipment in the area to safely retrieve his mail.

“At 7 a.m. in the morning, it gets busy and it doesn’t stop,” said the pastor’s daughter.

The $14.2 million project is managed by the Georgia Department of Transportation with McMath-Turner Construction of Columbus as the general contractor. The widening project along the highway has left the front of his mailbox facing three lanes of traffic, one lane going southbound beside the mailbox and two traveling northbound, while the rear of the mailbox is in the construction zone with bulldozers and other heavy equipment.

With about 19,200 vehicles moving through the area daily, traffic is too heavy and dangerous during the day to even think about getting the mail. The family has nearly 50 years in the area and practically watched the area grow up around them until it reached the mailbox.

Although no one has approached the family about moving the mailbox to a different location because of safety concerns, it may be the first in the city if the widened road behind the mailbox is paved, leaving the mailbox on an island surrounded by asphalt.

The DOT project manager was called about the mailbox location but didn’t return a call. The same question was directed to Kimberly Larson, the communications officer with the Georgia Department of Transportation in Thomaston, but we’re still waiting on a response.

If the widening is completed as planned by late this summer, time appears to be running short for the family trying to reach the mailbox late at night. It’s strange the mailbox in this area wasn’t moved along with other utilities in the area months ago.

“The mailbox is in the middle of the highway,” the daughter said. “They’re building the highway around it.”

As a matter of disclosure, this newspaper also has a white box for the family newspaper that’s caught in this construction oversight.

The daughter didn’t have to think long about describing what the family is going through with their new mailbox location and the road construction. “It’s crazy,” she said.

If you’ve seen something that needs attention, give me at call at 706-571-8576.