COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL) – Steam Mill Road is a busy corridor in a heavily populated area of The Fountain City. It runs through a neighborhood with pedestrians, schools and a recreation center.
A recent traffic study highlighted residents’ ongoing frustrations over speeding. For decades this portion of Columbus has seen a high number of pedestrian fatalities.

WRBL’s Kenzie Beach sat down with Donna Newman, the Director of Engineering for the City of Columbus, for the latest information.

October marks one year since two elementary students were hit on Steam Mill Road walking to school. The hit and run left one of the kids dead. Nothing has visibly changed on this road since then but Newman, says a project of this magnitude takes time and has been in the works prior to the incident.

They’ve identified the entire 2.2 miles of Steam Mill Road will need to be redone. The projected cost to complete this project is $22.5 million, majority of which will come from Transportation Local Option Sales Tax funds.

They plan to add multiple roundabouts to slow traffic down.

“Anytime you can control vehicular traffic and slow it down that also assists in safety for pedestrians … The goal is that with the addition of the roundabouts, that will slow traffic down. Speed is a big problem on this specific corridor and having the dedicated separate pedestrian facilities, multi-purpose facilities, there are a lot of safety improvements.”

Donna Newman – Director of Engineering, City of Columbus 

They also plan to add a 10-foot shared use path on the south side of the roadway and 5-foot sidewalk on the north side. The would be to add 3-foot separators between the roadway and the sidewalk.

The priority remains the safety of students.

“I ask people to be patient with us and know that we are actively working and we are concerned with the children’s safety. We are pushing as hard as we can to get this project underway and complete.”

Donna Newman – Director of Engineering, City of Columbus 

A project of this magnitude could take close to a decade to complete.

“Typically a project of this size could take 7 to 10 years. We have requested to facilitate this one and expedite it so we can keep it moving. If the plan development works out, start it early or do it in phases so we can at least get the sections closer to the school in place.”

Donna Newman – Director of Engineering, City of Columbus 

They hope to break ground on the project in the 2nd quarter of 2025 then will be working to have construction completed in 18 months. 

It’s important to note, when changing the width of the road they will have to deal with the purchasing of land from all the residents that live along Steam Mill Road. Each one will have to be negotiated individually, which will take time and could delay the process.

A Community wide public information open house is being held Monday, Oct. 23 at 5:30 p.m. at the Columbus Baptist Association, so residents can share their concerns and hopes for the project.