Dawson County Public Works Director David McKee held the floor for much of the Nov. 8 board of commissioners meeting to talk about several county road projects that will be completed next year.
McKee said that the county will soon be working in conjunction with the Georgia Department of Transportation to install turn lanes at the intersection of Lumpkin Campground and Hwy. 53.
Two turn lanes will be added, one for drivers turning east onto Hwy. 53 and one for drivers turning west onto Hwy. 53.
McKee said the county will be responsible for demolition and asphalt work and will contract out the concrete work, as well as re-stripe the road once the work is done.
GDOT will pay for the asphalt, provide traffic flaggers and will retime the traffic lights.
McKee said that the county will be installing temporary construction signs at the intersection very soon and that they will work on one turning lane before moving to the other.
“I anticipate within a couple weeks you’ll see some demolition work going on out there,” McKee said.
Because the turn lanes were not a part of GDOT’s plans for intersection improvements done during construction of the continuous flow intersection at Hwy. 53 and Ga. 400, the county had to wait for the work there to be done before they could work on the turn lanes.
The county continues planning to overhaul Lumpkin Campground Road in its entirety.
Another long awaited project could also get underway soon as construction on the Black’s Mill Road bridge is expected to start in January.
In July 2017, GDOT provided notice to the county that the bridge would need to be closed because it was structurally deficient and the bridge has remained closed since, forcing residents to detour around it.
The county tried to acquire surplus materials from GDOT for a new bridge but there were none available, so the county contracted Southeastern Engineering in February to develop a design for a new bridge, and $33,700 was spent on the drawings and specifications.
The county put out a bid for construction in August and McKee is asking the board to award the $375,000 contract to Georgia Bridge and Concrete and to approve the expenditure of $233,700 of SPLOST VI funds.
The bridge will still be a one-lane bridge, but widened by five feet, and will be able to withstand the weight of emergency service vehicles and school buses, which the current bridge cannot.
“As part of this bid we asked the contractor to remove and dispose of the existing bridge,” McKee said. “The new bridge is longer than the bridge that’s there. If you recall, y’all tasked me with developing a product that’s in keeping with the environment that’s there. The stacked stone abutments, they’ll stay just like they are, we’ll come back beyond that and put the new abutments in, set the bridge structure on top of the new abutments.”
McKee said the county will haul off any excess materials that are at the site and will be responsible for resetting the road grades once the contractor is done, as the road would be elevated around six or eight inches on each end. January is the estimated start date for the project, though the steel bridge will not arrive for some time.
“The actual construction time is not that long, the long time is going to be the 18 to 20 weeks it's going to take from the time we order the bridge to the time it's here,” McKee said.
McKee also presented a grant application for road repairs in three county subdivisions.
The application is for a Local Maintenance and Improvement (LMIG) grant, which is a GDOT program that gives local governments greater flexibility to deliver projects in a timely manner with revenue from State Motor Fuel Tax collections.
Last year the county was awarded funds to repair A.T. Moore Road and Mt. Vernon Drive as well as the Biscayne subdivision. Repairs proposed this year include several roads in the Dawson Junction subdivision off Dawson Forest Road; roads in the Hightower Industrial Park off Hwy. 53; and Amicalola Drive in the Amicalola Chase Subdivision off Hwy. 136 and Crane Road.
This year the county is eligible to receive $414,931.34 and the county’s 30 percent match of around $124,000 would bring the project budget up to $539,410.47.
McKee said that the projects he is proposing would cost approximately $638,000.
“We will expend slightly more than our 30 percent match and my purpose for that is to get some of these projects (where) we have scored the roads and we see the scores are very insufficient,” McKee said. “What we have not done as of late is our subdivisions.”
If the county submits the application and the grant is awarded, work on the projects would start around March or April 2019, according to McKee.
The board also heard a proposal to contract a company to renovate the exterior of the gym at Veterans Memorial Park. The board voted in February to approve the project in the amount of $250,000, to be funded from SPLOST VI.
County staff have asked for the board to accept a bid from Everlast Construction Group in an amount not to exceed $235,140.
The board could vote to approve the requests at its Nov. 15 meeting, which will be held at 6 p.m. in the second floor assembly room of the Dawson County Government Center.