The plan to build the Daniells Bridge Road extension with a flyover of SR Loop 10 with only two lanes didn’t last long.
At a meeting yesterday morning, the Policy Committee of the Madison Athens-Clarke Oconee Regional Transportation Study (MACORTS) changed the 2015-2018 Transportation Improvement Program document to say that the extension and flyover should be either two lanes or four.
The night before, Oconee County Public Works Director Emil Beshara told the county’s Citizen Advisory Committee for Land Use and Transportation Planning that the extension and flyover were listed as two-lanes wide in the MACORTS 2015-2018 Transportation Improvement Program document
The project had been changed from four lanes to two in the MACORTS document in recent weeks at the request of Davis. Davis gave no explanation yesterday of why he wanted to change the plans again.
The Policy Committee of MACORTS met in the Oconee County Courthouse in Watkinsville to take formal action on the 2015-2018 Transportation Improvement Program document, which had been drafted on June 25 and put out for public comment during the summer.
Following that comment period, Oconee County and Georgia Department of Transportation officials asked MACORTS staff to change the document to state that the Daniells Bridge Road Extension and flyover be only two lanes wide, Sherry McDuffie, a transportation planner with MACORTS, told me on Tuesday.
Beshara told the Land Use and Transportation Planning Committee that he did not ask for that change, and Davis is the only other county official in a position to make that request.
Prior to the Land Use Committee meeting, MACORTS held a public hearing on the draft 2040 Long Range Transportation Plan, and that document did list the extension and flyover as either two or four lanes.
Project Framework Agreements
The Daniells Bridge Road Extension and flyover has produced the most controversy among three road projects covered by separate project framework agreements sent the county by the Georgia Department of Transportation in early July.
The widening of Jimmy Daniell Road has produced no reaction at any of the public discussions of the GDOT documents, while the widening of Daniells Bridge Road has proven to be less controversial than the extension and flyover.
The extension would involve construction of a new road from the existing Daniells Bridge Road to connect to the stub of the Oconee Connector at Home Depot.
The public has been presented with several versions of the project.
Both proponents and opponents spoke at the Land Use and Transportation Planning Committee meeting on Tuesday night.
TIPs and PFAs
The 2015-2018 Transportation Improvement Program document circulated to the public after it was drafted on June 25 listed the Daniells Bridge Road Extension with flyover as a four-lane road with an estimated cost of $4.8 million.
Construction was listed as “Long Range,” and preliminary engineering was designed as in the 2016-2017 fiscal year.
That document had been changed prior to the meeting to list the roadway as two-lanes, McDuffie told the Policy Committee as discussion of the document got underway yesterday morning. The Policy Committee voted at that meeting to change it back to four lanes.
In the 2040 Transportation Plan Update now under review by MACORTS, the project is listed as two or four lanes with an estimated cost of $8.5 million.
In the project framework agreements the county is being asked by GDOT to sign, the project is listed as costing $4.9 million. The PFA does not specify the number of lanes.
The document states that the concept plan for the project is to be approved in May of 2015, ROW acquisition is to be approved in July of 2017, and constructions funds are to be authorized in August of 2018.
The BOC decided on Aug. 26 to send the three projects covered by the GDOT project framework agreements to the Land Use Committee for review rather than take action on the agreements at this time.
The transmission letter with the project framework agreements does not set any deadline for response.
Much of the comment by members of the Land Use Committee on Tuesday night was critical of the projects and the way they had been handled, with particular focus on the Daniells Bridge Road Extension.
Bob Sanders is a member of the Land Use Committee and of the MACORTS Policy Committee, but he did not speak at the meeting yesterday morning.
I was not able to attend the meeting, which lasted less than 15 minutes. Sarah Bell shot the video from which the clip above is taken.