Simpson Trucking and Grading of Gaineville already has completed some of the clearing and grubbing work for Parkway Boulevard Extension, which will serve as a major entranceway for an expanded Epps Bridge Centre.
The company also is putting in temporary erosion control measures, according to Oconee County Public Works Director Emil Beshara, and plans to begin moving direct in the next couple of weeks.
The construction work is largely out of the view of the public because of topography and because access is cut off to the beginning of the roadway extension just northwest of Kohl’s department store off Epps Bridge Parkway.
Oconee 316 Associates LLC of Atlanta, developer of Epps Bridge Centre, is poised to begin its own preliminary site preparation work for the 54-acre expansion of the shopping complex.
Oconee County Code Enforcement is waiting on approval of plans by the county’s Utility Department before it can issue a site development permit for clearing, grubbing, grading, and instillation of site infrastructure, according to B.R. White, director of Code Enforcement.
The Oconee River Soil and Water Conservation District has approved erosion control plans submitted by Oconee 316 associates that include the 54 acres for the shopping center and 20 additional acres owned by the Gordy family that will be used to provide fill for the shopping center project.
Chris Greer, a professor of instructional technology at Georgia College in Milledgeville, shot still and video images of the roadway construction on Sunday with a drone.
|Kohl's Beneath, Epps Bridge Centre Ahead|
Greer flew his drone over the path of the roadway from Kohl’s to where it will intersect with the Oconee Connector.
The new road will meet the Connector across from the existing entrance to Epps Bridge Centre just east of the building housing the Sleep Number and Vitamin Shoppe.
The new three-lane road will split the expanded shipping center into two parts, with the larger, 39-acre tract bordered by the new road, the Oconee Connector, and Plaza Parkway.
The smaller, 10.8-acre parcel will be to the east the Parkway Boulevard Extension.
Oconee 316 Associates and developer Frank Bishop will turn over 3.3 acres to Oconee County for construction of the roadway, according to the Soil and Water Conservation District documents.
Funding Of Roadway
The Oconee County Board of Commissioners in January approved a $3.35 million contract with Simpson Trucking and Grading Company for construction of Parkway Boulevard Extension.
To finance the project, the county, through its Industrial Development Authority, sold $4.285 million in bonds.
The extra money is being used to purchase needed easements from land owners other than Bishop and for beautification of the roadway once it is completed and for beautification of the Mars Hill Road once that widening project is finished.
The county is hoping that Bishop will be successful in landing retailers to produce enough revenue in property and sales taxes to cover the expenses.
Costco is mentioned as one possible tenant.
At a called meeting, the Board of Commissioners on Sept. 14 approved two change orders with ABE Consulting for design work on Parkway Boulevard Extension. (Video of that meeting is here.)
|Epps Bridge Centre At End Of Parkway Boulevard Extension|
The first order was for $4,380 to do a design change to eliminate one of the originally included entrances to the smaller of the Bishop tracts.
The second change order for $6,160 was for surveys for two of the property owners from whom right of way was purchased.
ABE Consulting is owned by Abe Abouhamdan, chairman of the county’s Citizen Advisory Committee on Land Use and Transportation Planning.
Work To Come
Beshara told me in an email message this morning that the initial work completed by Simpson Trucking and Grading included the removal of trees, brush and stumps.
Construction should take about seven months, Beshara said, but weather can have a significant effect on schedule.
“We are hoping for completion by May of next year,” he wrote.
The Oconee River Soil and Water Conservation District approved the Erosion and Sediment Control Plan for Epps Bridge Centre Phases II and III on Aug. 18.
The Oconee River Soil and Water Conservation District is one of eight districts in Region II of the state Soil and Water Conservation Commission.
The video below includes two clips. The first starts at the Oconee Connector and travels toward McNutt Creek, the border between Oconee County and Athens-Clarke County.
The second clip starts at the current stub of Parkway Boulevard to the west of Kohl’s department store and travels to the existing Epps Bridge Centre.