Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Mars Hill Road Bidding Delayed By GDOT To Allow For Right Of Way Acquisition

Pushed Back Five Months

The Georgia Department of Transportation has put off until February the letting of bids for Oconee County’s Mars Hill Road widening project.

Brent Cook, District One preconstruction engineer, told me in a telephone conversation today that right of way acquisition by the county is “running a little behind schedule,” making it necessary for GDOT to delay by five months the expected bidding for the $25.8 million project.

Actual construction on the roadway, from SR 316 to Hog Mountain Road in Butler’s Crossing, likely will start a couple of months after bids are accepted, Cook said, or in April or May of 2014.

Mars Hill Road is to be widened to four lanes with a median and turn lanes. It also will include sidewalks and bicycle lanes. In the next two phases of the project, the roadway is to be improved from Butler’s Crossing to Watkinsville.

BOC Updated Sept. 3

The roadway project has been a frequent topic at Board of Commissioners meetings in recent months, but there has been no mention of any delays.

At the most recent meeting on Sept. 3, County Attorney Daniel Haygood said the county could afford to wait until its next meeting on Sept. 24 before going forward with additional condemnation proceedings in the hopes of reaching settlements out of court.

At its July 30 meeting, the BOC voted to proceed with condemnation of five parcels after Haygood reported that negotiations with those property owners had failed.

Cook said the last report he had received–about a month ago–indicated that the county still needed between 30 and 40 properties for the project.

The county is purchasing the rights of way for the project and being reimbursed by the state for most of the costs.

The county has a contract with Moreland Altobelli Associates, Inc., a Norcross engineering and program management firm, for both right of way acquisition and design for the Mars Hill Road widening.

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