Wednesday, March 01, 2023

Oconee County Commission Accepts Bid For Additional Road Work At Malcom Bridge Road Elementary And Middle School Campus

***Goal Is To Remove Deputies From Roadways***

The Oconee County Board of Commissioners at its agenda-setting meeting on Tuesday night decided to move forward with postponed plans to reconstruct Malcom Bridge Road at the entrances to Malcom Bridge Elementary and Malcom Bridge Middle schools.

The goal of the changes, Board Chair John Daniell said, is to remove the deputies from the roadway at the entrances to the schools for the safety of the deputies.

The project will add a median along Malcom Bridge from the roundabout at the bus driveway north and south past the entrances for the elementary and middle schools.

Those entrances will be right-in/right-out only, and motorists will be able to make a U-turn at the existing roundabout or at the ends of the medians.

The Board tentatively agreed on a contract for $1.3 million for the work, with construction to be done during the summer break at the schools. The final vote on the contract is scheduled for the regular meeting of the Board on March 7.

The county has been discussing these road improvements and the desire to remove the deputies from the school entrances since late 2018.

The deputies are employed by the Oconee County Sheriff’s Office and funded by the county. The county, not Oconee County Schools, also pays the added time supplement to the deputies for directing traffic at school entrances.

Daniell said the timing for the construction was good because the opening of the new Dove Creek Middle School in August will reduce enrollments–and traffic–at Malcom Bridge Middle School next year.


Jody Woodall, Public Works Director for Oconee County, told the Board on Tuesday that while five perspective bidders attended the pre-bid meeting, only Peachstate Construction Company of Covington submitted a bid.

Screen Shot Woodall And Commission 2/28/23

The sole bid, and the cost, was a concern to Commissioner Mark Thomas, who said “It seems like an awful lot of money for that work.”

Daniell said the county had bid the project in 2021 and the bids were lower.

“Part of it was the timing wasn’t correct with the school being overcrowded at that time,” Daniell said explaining the decision not to award the contract in 2021.

“I don’t see prices going down,” he added.

The two bidders in April of 2021 were CMES, Inc, of Norcross and E.R. Snell Contractor, Inc., of Snellville.

CMES bid $804,632 and Snell bid $820,428.

Woodall said the money for the contract with Peachstate will come from reserve funds, the county General Fund, and the Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax.

Daniell’s Introduction

“These are road improvements we’ve talked about for several years now–three or four, at least,” Daniell said once Woodall had reported on the bidding process.

“With the changes in attendance at Malcom Bridge Middle School,” he said, “this will be the best opportunity to go ahead and do that. It will be lowest attendance we’ll probably see there for many, many years with Dove Creek opening up.”

“If the design works like we think it’s going to,” he said, “the deputies will be out of the roadway in front of these two schools.

“Also remember we have construction of a development that is going on right now too,” he said.

“The contract has them starting at the end of school to be done prior to the start of school,” he said of Peachstate. “So there will be no impact to the school system operations.”

Thomas agreed to accept the bid from Peachstate, and the Commission put the item on its consent agenda for final approval at its meeting on March 7.

Background Of Road Improvements

The Board of Commissioners, which has responsibility for roadways in the county, began discussing improvements to Malcom Bridge Road in September of 2018.

At that time Lenru Development LLC was seeking to modify the plans approved in 2004 for development of 7.5 acres that lie between Malcom Bridge Road and Lenru Road where the two roads meet.

The project was to be called The Village At Malcom Bridge.

“Eventually, we want to get so all of our schools, we don’t have a deputy standing out in the roadway,” Daniell said at the Sept. 4, 2018, Commission meeting.

The Oconee County Board of Education refused to cooperate with the county by granting needed right of way for the improvements, which included roundabouts at the school entrances, saying it wanted to keep the deputies in the roadway during peak school traffic hours.

Construction work on The Village At Malcom Bridge is now underway.

On Jan. 3, the Board of Commissioners approved a second development abutting The Village at Malcom Bridge, putting additional traffic onto Malcom Bridge Road at the entrances to the Malcom Bridge Road school campus.

Details Of Construction

The bid documents to which Peachstate responded provide detailed drawings of the construction work, but Woodall told me the simplest way to understand the work is by viewing a schematic presented at the June 6, 2020, Board of Commissioners Town Hall Meeting.

Rendition Of Work Plan Presented At Town Hall Meeting

The county shifted its plans for a roundabout at the bus and staff entrance to the two schools onto county property when the School Board refused to grant easements for the work.

That roundabout has been completed, and the work that will be completed under the bid approved on Tuesday will create a median and concrete island from that roundabout north to beyond the parent entrance to Malcom Bridge Elementary School.

The parent entrance to the elementary school will be right-in, right-out only, but motorists will be able to travel north on Malcom Bridge Road and make a U-turn when the concrete island ends.

A median and then concrete island would extend from the existing roundabout to south of the parent entrance to Malcom Bridge Middle School.

The parent entrance to Malcom Bridge Middle School also will be right-in, right-out only, and another U-turn option will be available at the southern end of the concrete island.

Woodall referred to the project in his presentation to the Board on Tuesday as the Malcom Bridge Road Median U-Turn Project.

Other Action

In other action at the brief meeting on Tuesday, the Board of Commissioners tentatively approved a modification to the Memorandum of Understanding between University of Georgia Cooperative Extension and the county.

In the past, Daniell told the other commissioners, the county paid for one position and then paid supplements to the funding for the remaining positions.

The University wants to bring the person funded by the county into the University of Georgia system to provide full benefits to that person.

Under the agreement, the county will use the money it spends to increase the supplements paid to the extension positions.

The Commission put this item on the consent agenda for final approval next week.

The documents provided to the commissioners lists six extension positions serving the county.


The video below is recorded from Zoom and is on the Oconee County YouTube site.

Woodall made his report to the Board on the Malcom Bridge Road project at 4:34 in the video.

Daniell initiated discussion of the extension agents at 9:54 in the video.

No comments: