Category Archives: Stephens

Toccoa and Commerce Students to Attend West Point

GAINESVILLE, Ga.—Rep. Doug Collins (R-Ga.) congratulates Avero L’Conde “A.J.” Howard of Toccoa, Ga. and Owen Brown of Commerce, Ga. Both have excelled as students at the U.S. Military Preparatory School and been admitted to West Point as part of the class of 2022.

The son of Mr. Avero Howard and Ms. Uganda Burton, A.J. has served as captain of the Preparatory School’s football team and is a graduate of Stephens County High School.

Owen is a graduate of Commerce High School and will be part of the wrestling team at the U.S. Military Academy. The son of Mr. Stanley and Mrs. Sandra Brown, he has been a squad leader at the Preparatory School and made the Commandments List for his academic achievement.

“I’m proud of A.J. and Owen’s academic and athletic accomplishments at the U.S. Military Preparatory School. Their dedication has earned them spots at West Point, and I look forward to their continued service to our country there,” said Collins, who nominated Howard and Brown to the service academy.

Franklin and Stephens Counties… Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony Celebrates Opening of $85 Million Dollar Projects

Opening of state Route 17 with Ribbon Cutting Ceremony

The Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) along with the Stephens County Development Authority and the Toccoa Chamber of Commerce celebrated the opening of state Route 17 at an official Ribbon Cutting Ceremony this morning.

GDOT District Engineer Brent Cook joined by Senator John Wilkinson, Representative Dan Gasaway, Stephens County Commission Chairman Dennis Bell and Toccoa’s Mayor, Evan Hellenga recognized the progress of the two projects that broke ground in 2013.

The two projects that created the new four lane divided highway takes drivers through Franklin and Stephens Counties. State Route 17 from south of the Franklin County line to Scott Road, represents a total investment of $54,706,018.15.The northern project that begins at Scott Road and ends at Memorial Drive carries a total investment $30,495.838.58.

C.W. Mathews of Marietta, was awarded both projects, in March 2013. “I’d like to say thank you to our partners, C.W. Matthews, who worked diligently and remained an ally in making this a safe and efficient corridor,” said GDOT District Engineer, Brent Cook. “It’s always refreshing to see a project that will change the lives of the citizens and open up new economic opportunities for a community.”

State Route 17 was designated as part of the Governor’s Road Improvement Program (GRIP) in 1989. This legislation designated SR 17 as an economic development corridor in Northeast Georgia and mandated all GRIP corridors be upgraded to four lane divided highways. The 18 GRIP Corridors statewide will ultimately ensure that 98% of Georgia’s cities will be within 20 miles of a four lane divided highway.


Toccoa, Ga. – Georgia DOT announces Davis Road will be closed at its intersection with State Route 17 beginning, Monday January 26 for about 60 days, if weather permits. The grade of Davis Road must be raised by eight feet to match the grade of the new SR 17.

Approximately 500 feet of Davis Road closest to the intersection with SR 17 will be closed.  The detour route will direct traffic from State Route 17 to Hickory Log Circle and to Davis Road.

This 3.13 miles widening project upgrades SR 17 to a four lane divided highway with sidewalks from Fieldcrest Road to Memorial Drive. The contract for construction was awarded to C.W. Matthews Contracting of Marietta for $20 million. Road work is required to be completed by April 30, 2016.