Thursday, November 27, 2014

Oconee County Commissioners Accept State Agreement For Jimmy Daniell Road But Delay Action On Daniells Bridge Road

Back Shortly

The Oconee County Board of Commissioners approved an agreement with the state Department of Transportation to go forward with widening of Jimmy Daniell Road Tuesday night but postponed action on two projects on Daniells Bridge Road.

The Board made no actual decision on what it will do to Jimmy Daniell Road, with construction of center turn and deceleration lanes one possibility and construction of four lanes, a new bridge over McNutt Creek and reconfiguration to meet with the roadway in Athens-Clarke County another.

BOC Chairman Melvin Davis told the commissioners at the beginning of the discussion that he “had some conversations yesterday and today with GDOT officials” and recommended that they take no action on the two Daniells Bridge Road projects.

The widening of Daniells Bridge Road from Chestnut Hill Road to Hog Mountain Road and construction of an extension of Daniells Bridge Road to fly over SR Loop 10 to meet up with the stub of the Oconee Connector at Home Depot likely will be on the agenda early next year.

Request for Action

The county had received project framework agreements from the Georgia Department of Transportation for all three projects in early July, but the four voting commissioners had postponed action on the agreements pending a review of county transportation needs.

Davis short-circuited that review by the county’s Citizen Advisory Committee on Land Use and Transportation Planning after the county received a letter dated Oct. 28 from GDOT asking for county action by Dec. 1 on a project framework agreement for the widening of Jimmy Daniell Road.

While Davis had put all three project framework agreements on the agenda for action on Tuesday night, he acknowledged Tuesday that the county only had received a request to act on the Jimmy Daniell Road project framework agreement.

He said he was recommending that the county “hold the other projects for discussion at a later date.”

Public Works Director

Davis asked county Public Works Director Emil Beshara to review the details of the Jimmy Daniell Road widening, but Beshara said little actually is known at this point.

“The scope is not defined,” Beshara told the commissioners. “It could be as large and complex or as streamlined and straightforward as you desire.”

Beshara said the widening is a “sister project” to work on the roadway in Clarke County and he recommended that the two counties enter into an intergovernmental agreement on the project.

The county could build the center turn lanes, acceleration and deceleration lanes, and widen the road to 12-foot lanes without purchasing additional right of way, Beshara said.

If the county decides to widen the roadway to four lanes, it will need additional right of way, he said.

Finances Uncertain

Davis and Beshara gave different versions of how the Jimmy Daniell road work would be financed.

Beshara said the project framework agreement states that “the county is willing to work with DOT to further this project in accordance with the allocations and responsibility set forth” in the agreement.

The project framework agreement before the county stated that preliminary engineering would be paid for by federal and state funds, right of way would be paid for by Oconee County, and construction would be paid for by the federal government and the state.

The total cost would be $21.7 million, with the county paying 5 percent, or $1.1 million.

Davis said the county could negotiate with the state on these matters.

“We know we have different contracts that have come back,” he said. The state might be willing to reimburse the county for right of way, he said.

Davis’ explanation of the purpose of the project framework agreement is in the short clip below.

Pay All

Beshara suggested the county might want to do the widening project on a limited scale and pay all of the expenses, since state regulations can run up the expenses itself.

Following the discussion, and without any resolution on these issues, Commissioner Mark Saxon moved for approval of the project framework agreement. Commissioner Jim Luke seconded.

The Commission passed the resolution unanimously.

I was not able to attend the meeting, but Russ Page did attend and made a full video recording.

The section dealing with the project framework agreements follows.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Oconee Commissioners To Consider Agreements For Widening Jimmy Daniell Road And Daniells Bridge Road And For Daniells Bridge Road Extension

Dec. 1 Deadline Set

The Oconee County Board of Commissioners is being asked to take up on Tuesday night project framework agreements with the state for widening of Daniells Bridge Road and of Jimmy Daniell Road and construction of an extension of Daniells Bridge Road with a flyover of SR Loop 10.

The agenda item is a response to a letter sent to BOC Chairman Melvin Davis on Oct. 28 asking for county action on a project framework agreement for the widening of Jimmy Daniell Road by Dec. 1, according to documents released Friday on the county web site.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Oconee County Land Use Committee Tells Commissioners To Sign Project Framework Agreements with GDOT

Action At Request Of Davis

The Oconee County Land Use And Transportation Planning Committee tonight recommended to the Board of Commissioners that it sign project framework agreements for widening of Jimmy Daniell Road and Daniells Bridge Road and construction of an extension of Daniells Bridge Road with a flyover of SR Loop 10.

Bob Sanders, Land Use Committee member, said he was fearful the state would withdraw its contributions to the three projects if the Commissioners didn’t take action on the agreements the county received from the Georgia Department of Transportation in July.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Oconee County Land Use Committee To Continue Its Discussion Of Daniells Bridge Road Flyover And Other Road Projects

Economic Development Cited

The Oconee County Citizen Advisory Committee for Land Use and Transportation Planning resumes its deliberations about county road priorities tomorrow night with the goal of giving its feedback to the Board of Commissioners in February or March.

The proposed Daniells Bridge Road extension and flyover of SR Loop 10 has dominated both of the meetings the group has held since it began its discussion of road priorities at its meeting on Sept. 9.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Volunteers Clean Up Antioch Church Road In Southern Oconee County To Protect Rose Creek

Braved Cold

Fifty volunteers, mostly teenagers, braved the cold yesterday morning to pick up litter on Antioch Church Road as a way to protect Rose Creek, which flows through the southern part of Oconee County before reaching the Oconee River at the Greene County line.

The litter, if not collected, would end up in Rose Creek, the organizers of the event told the volunteers.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Construction Of Mars Hill Road Scheduled To Begin Next Week, Georgia Department Of Transportation Announced

Clearing To Begin Wednesday

Construction work on Mars Hill Road is scheduled to begin next week, according to a press release issued this afternoon by the Gainesville office of the Georgia Department of Transportation.

Crews are to start delivering equipment and materials to the site at the beginning of the week, and clearing along Mars Hill Road in advance of construction will start Wednesday at State Route 316, weather permitting.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Oconee County Officials Met With State Transportation Board Member And His Client To Discuss Modifications In Design For Mars Hill Road

Maxie Price Properties

Oconee County officials–at the request of Board of Commissioners Chairman Melvin Davis–met last week with commercial real estate broker Jamie Boswell and one of his clients to discuss a possible change in the plans for the widening of Mars Hill Road.

Boswell and his client, Maxie Price, wanted to discuss a cut in the median to provide access to property Price owns once the roadway is widened.

Boswell, in addition to being a commercial realtor, is the local representative to the state Transportation Board, which oversees the administration of construction contracts, including the one let in July for the widening of Mars Hill Road from SR 316 to Butler’s Crossing.