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Upgrades planned for Dawson Forest Road
Official: Needed repairs pose safety hazard
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Commissioners are considering a plan to rehabilitate Dawson Forest Road.

Dawson County Planning Director David McKee said major repair work is needed from Hwy. 53 west to the entrance of the Dawson Forest Wildlife Management Area.

Originally constructed in the 1950s as an entryway to the Lockheed plant, the six mile road has a 42-45 percent base failure, which McKee poses is a safety hazard.

"It's heavily traveled, a main east-west thoroughfare at the southern end of our county with both residential and commercial traffic, some heavy commercial traffic," he said. "That's a main line for some of our transfer haulers to come up from south on 400, as well as some of our local haulers that haul over to the landfill."

There are also three schools and a fire station on the road's west side.

McKee has recommended a full depth reclamation of the road, rather than to continue patching the holes and asphalt breaks.

"We have done maintenance throughout the years. It's just been a maintenance headache, a maintenance nightmare," he said. "We want to fix this road and maybe go mow it a couple times a year and don't do anything else to it. That's what we're looking for the next eight years, 10 years, 12 years, 15 years."

Low bidder Blount Construction says the road can be repaired for $2.3 million for full depth reclamation. The rehabilitation of the road is a SPLOST-VI approved expenditure.

McKee referenced patchwork maintenance that was performed on Kelly Bridge Road a few years back in his reasoning for asking that the county go with a full depth reclamation.

"Fairly quickly after we left that project, we started seeing failure again. That repair was cost driven. We did what we could do with the dollars that we had," he said. "We did an 18 foot section where we did reclaim the full depth 10 inches...that portion of the road did not fail. It still looks like it did when we left it."

The overall work is expected to be complete by November or December and will be conducted in phases, beginning on the west side near the schools and fire station.

There is a small section from Power Center Drive west to the roundabout at Lumpkin Campground Road is not part of the planned repairs.

"Private developers are doing significant upgrades in that section from the roundabout to Power Center Drive. There's a huge coordinating effort there," McKee said.

Commissioners are expected to vote on the measure during Thursday's 6 p.m. meeting.