Friday, April 17, 2009

GDOT Opens Bids for Oconee Connector

Six Firms Want the Work

The Georgia Department of Transportation today opened and read six bids ranging from $13.5 to $15.7 million for construction of the Oconee Connector Extension that will lead to the proposed Epps Bridge Centre shopping mall on Epps Bridge Parkway. The department said it will announce its decision on the bids in a week.

The Oconee County Board of Commissioners in October set the issuing of bids for the roadway as a condition for beginning any construction on the $76 million shopping center.

GDOT also opened bids today for three projects in Douglas, Coweta and Spalding counties.

Oconee officials had said they expected the state to call for bids for the Oconee Connector Extension several times during the last year, but the state delayed doing so until Nov. 21, 2008. On Dec. 12, 2008, the department opened eight bids, and on Dec. 24 it rejected all eight for unspecified reasons.

The 1.5 mile Oconee Connector Extension will form a loop from SR 316 at its current intersection with the existing Oconee Connector back to Epps Bridge Parkway near Lowe’s. It will include a flyover of SR Loop 10.

Without this road, Epps Bridge Centre will have only one entrance and exit–on Epps Bridge Parkway opposite the Waffle House restaurant.

The low bid opened today was submitted by G.P.S. Enterprises Inc. for $13,465,759, and the high bad was offered by Pittman Construction Company for $15,652,040.

Both firms had submitted bids that were opened in December, though the estimate in each case was lower the second time around. The G.P.S bid in December had been $13,969,803, while the Pittman bid in December had been $16,724,618.

The Georgia Department of Natural Resources on April 1, 2009, issued a variance to Atlanta developer Frank Bishop to allow him to violate the 25-foot buffer on a half mile of flowing streams and wetlands on the site.

In issuing the variance, the state informed Bishop that "the amount of land cleared during construction must be kept at a minimum." Bishop has indicated he plans to disturb 62 of the 63 acres that make up the site and to pipe and fill the flowing streams.

On Jan. 20, Bishop was given a permit from the United States Army Corps of Engineers to pipe and fill the streams and wetlands on the site and to mitigate the damage by restoring wetlands and streams on a site he purchased in Greene County between the Oconee County line and Greensboro.