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Building the Four Lane: US-41

In 1926 large portions of the Dixie Highway became part of the newly numbered highway system—U.S. 41. The highway was upgraded but remained two-lanes traveling through the center of dozens of Georgia towns. Tourists or Georgians traveling north to south drove through Dalton, Calhoun, Cartersville, Marietta, Griffin, Barnesville, Tifton, Valdosta, and many more.

Soon after World War II the State Highway Department began planning for a four-lane highway that would in some places reroute Highway 41 to bypass cities, and many of the tourist-oriented businesses in town moved “out to the four-lane.” The road was designed for safety, with a divided median and easy curves and grades.

Construction of the four-lane Highway 41 occurred mainly in the early 1950s, and a number of Yancey Bros. Co. customers were involved. Large out-of-state companies were low bidders on several projects, and they typically brought their own equipment. But they relied on the Yancey service department to keep their machines running, or they might rent a piece of equipment for short term use rather than bring their own.

In Bartow County, two out-of-state companies worked on large Highway 41 projects. E. H. Hines Construction Company of Greenwood, South Carolina, built roadway and three double bridges over Lake Allatoona, which was under construction. When the lake filled, it flooded several sections of the old road. Hines brought a crew of fifty-nine men from South Carolina, working fifty-five-hour weeks to clear the right of way and excavate with D8 dozers and other equipment. No. 12 motor graders helped prepare the road for paving.

Nearby, at the Emerson community, Nello L. Teer Company, of Durham, North Carolina, built a seven-mile section toward Cartersville using three D8 tractors with eighteen-yard pans, among other equipment. The job included ten culverts and a bridge over the Etowah River, built by H. G. Smith Company of Fitzgerald.

South of the Hines job, W. L. Florence Company of Powder Springs was grading a five-mile section of the new highway. The contractor hit less rock than anticipated, but the haul distance from cuts to fills was often a mile or more. Florence used three Caterpillar motor graders, three Cat Angledozers, and twelve D8 tractors.

Below Atlanta Hugh Steele Construction Company relocated a section of highway in Clayton County (later known as Tara Boulevard). Steele flattened out mole-hill terrain in the terrain, and blasted several stone outcrops along the way. Cat DW21s plus Cat tractors and dozers did much of the preliminary work, then a Caterpillar Motor Patrol and a Cat dozer pulling a sheepsfoot roller smoothed and compressed fill areas.

Father south, E. R. Snell of Snellville installed dozens of concrete culverts under the new road between Forsyth and Macon. Snell had a subcontract with Hugh Steele, who was grading and paving thirteen more miles of the roadway.

Still farther south, White Construction Company used Cat D7s and D8s push loading four DW10s as well as No. 12 motor graders to relocate a section of Highway 41 between Sylvester and Tifton. The new four-lane generally followed the lay of the old highway, but it straightened many of the curves along they—like drawing a straight line through an S.

Most of the work on Highway 41 in Georgia was completed by the end of 1955.

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