Saturday, December 10, 2016

Redesign Of Government Station Road/Experiment Station Road Intersection In Oconee County Includes Three Way Stop En Route

Road Closure As Well

The straight cut through on Government Station Road from Hog Mountain Road to Experiment Station Road will be eliminated in the future as a result of a design change negotiated by Oconee County Board of Commissioners Chairman Melvin Davis with the University of Georgia.

The current intersection of Government Station Road with Experiment Station Road will be eliminated in favor of a redesigned intersection across from the existing Bishop Farms Parkway.

The original design called for the existing Government Station road to curve and then straighten to match up with Bishop Farm Parkway.

The design negotiated by Davis will involve a three-way or T intersection across from the University of Georgia’s J. Phil Campbell Sr. Research and Education Center on Government Station Road.

The timing of the change is uncertain, depending on when the state decides to let the contract for the construction.

Details Uncertain

County Public Works Director Emil Beshara told me on Tuesday evening that he still has not seen the design Davis negotiated with the University and that was prepared by consultants Moreland Altobelli Associates Inc. of Duluth.

Beshara's Rendition Of New Design, Looking North

Beshara did sketch out for me his rendition of the design, based on what he has been told about the agreement.

The sketch shows the original design and the new one, with the T intersection labeled as a three-way stop.

GSR stands for Government Station Road, while ESR stands for Experiment Station Road.

BFP is Bishop Farms Parkway, which leads to the Oconee County campus of the University of North Georgia.

The sketch includes the note that the existing section of Government Station Road leading to the intersection with Experiment Station Road is likely to be closed.

Right Of Way Acquisition

Late in the negotiations for right of way for the widening of Experiment Station Road the county learned of an objection to the design by the University of Georgia.

Government Station Road Looking North At Future T

On Nov. 3, Davis wrote to J. Griffin Doyle, vice president for government relations at the University of Georgia, and Toby Carr, associate vice president for government relations at UGA, thanking them for meeting to discuss the right of way issues.

Davis wrote that, as a result of that meeting, “we” have instructed Moreland Altobelli to redesign the roadway.

The design included the T intersection with a three-way stop.

The existing intersection of Government Station Road and Experiment Station Road will be closed, Davis said.

The redesign will eliminate the need for the University of Georgia to give up any land for the new roadway, according to Davis’s letter.

Dickens Properties

The original design took parts of two properties owned by Charles P. and Linda B. Dickens on the north side of Experiment Station Road between Government Station Road and Daniells Plantation subdivision.

Included was a single-family road built in 1910 almost immediately opposite Bishop Farms Parkway.

It also required some right of way from the university of Georgia from its farmland on Government Station Road.

The new design will take land from the two Dickens properties, including the home built in 1910, but no right of way from the University of Georgia.

Moreland Altobelli Bill

At its meeting on Nov. 1, the Board of Commissioners agreed to pay Moreland Altobelli $19,750 for the redesign work for the intersection.

Commissioner Jim Luke initially objected to the bill, saying the design work had not been authorized by the Commission.

Commissioner Mark Saxon said the Commission certainly knew the discussions were underway.

Beshara, an engineer whose Public Works Department is responsible for county roads, made it clear during those discussions that he had not been involved in the design work or the decision to ask Moreland Altobelli to redesign the road.


JRV said...

Oconee County used to be an easy place to live but not any more. The powers that be have completely screwed up Butlers Crossing. The only way to get to the Bogart area from Watkinsville without getting tied up in construction misery is to take Government Station Road to Daniells Bridge. Now the powers that be are going to screw that up, too.

Furthermore, Main Street Watkinsville is a calamity because the traffic flow at Butlers Crossing in now so wonky. Also, these new traffic patterns are bringing out the worst in drivers: cutting each other off, flipping birds, etc.

If you have school-aged kids, or kids who play baseball in Bogart (hand raised here), then this new "road improvement project" is nothing but a nightmare.

Anonymous said...

"WE have instructed Moreland Altobelli to redisign the roadway. Another of Mr. Davis's unilateral decisions to spend tax payer money without BOC prior authorization?
Jim Luke tried again to save the county money, but was outvoted by Mr. Davis puppets.
Why a "T" road instead of a thru road as was initially designed? The entrance into the Phil Campbell Center looks like a Driveway and not a road.
Mr Beshara and the Board members left out again.
I can't wait until the new leadership comes on board. Hopefully things will be more open.

Anonymous said...

King Melvin at it again making unilateral decisions on spending tax payer money. Luke tries to come to the rescue, but no help from Melvin's patsies.
At least in the next meetings with Horton and Luke we will have two board members that will try to do the right thing. Then it will force Melvin to break the tie.
Why a "T" intersection and not a straight thru if the existing intersection is going to be closed? It looks like there is only a driveway at the Phil-Campbell center. Do they have to have a stop sign for a driveway?

Jim Gaither said...

The Dickens house sits on a 21 acre tract. The tax valuation for the house plus out-buildings is $92,000.

Zippity said...

Neither Jim Luke nor Melvin Davis will be on the Board, beginning in Jan. Both stepped down. UGA did not want Government Station Road to be used as a straight through road as they see it as a farm road (need to move cows, farm equipment, etc). This farm land helps preserve what little is left of Oconee's rural heritage. As far as the traffic nightmares, this is what happens with development with little infrastructure planning. You start with a rural county with few people, add a good school program, people move in, people want stores and parks and access to those. Developments for more people are added. Pretty soon you've got gridlock, sewage problems, etc. We're far from the first county where this has happened.

Anonymous said...

Zippity, yes, we're far from the county where this has happened, but we've had the same county commission chair for 16 years.

Melvin Davis and the commissioners who enabled him, along with the "Old Oconee" types like Doug Dickens, the develop at all cost types like Abe Abouhamden, Ken Beall, Rick Waller and Jamie Bishop, are directly responsible for the lack of infrastructure planning.

Funny how conservative Republican Melvin Davis always went for the quick buck, whether Frank Bishop's hideous Epps Bridge Parkway or the huge scale Master Planned Developments from the 2000's which are now coming back to haunt us.

There are only a few people who set the course that we're on...thank the Lord that Davis has finally moved on.

Anonymous said...

Lot's of complainers but yet we seldom see opposition of local races or at least anyone who's not a complete kook. Then when someone good does step up voters vote in a left over from years past.

Anonymous said...

Hard to take a newcomer seriously when he accepts $1,000 from Melvin Davis' campaign manager, meets with King Melvin, accepts another $2,000 from a Nevada congressman he never met, supports the ridiculous $20 million flyover bridge, used to work for Ken Beall, a key cog in all of these monster MPD's, and used a misleading negative ad against a fellow Republican.

Anonymous said...

To Anom 12:56 who are the kooks and leftovers that you are referring too? As I remember it we had many very qualified candidates that have run for office over the past 15 to 20 years that are genuinely concerned about our county.
Just because someone has a different philosophy of direction or need of transparency in government than yours doesn't make them a kook or leftover.