Wednesday, April 03, 2024

GDOT Asking Local Planning Organization To Bundle Funding For Jimmy Daniell Road, Virgil Langford Road, And Oconee Connector

***Public Comment Will Be Sought***

The Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) is asking MACORTS, the metropolitan transportation planning organization for Oconee County, to bundle funding in its planning documents for the Jimmy Daniell Road, Virgil Langford Road, and Oconee Connector intersections with SR 316.

The request is to facilitate moving forward with construction of the three projects, Kimberly Grayson from GDOT Planning told members of the Technical Coordinating Committee of MACORTS at its meeting last month.

Grayson said GDOT is “going to bundle all three projects and make them one project.” Grayson is a member of the Committee.

The Technical Coordinating Committee approved the request by GDOT and forwarded it to the MACORTS Policy Committee, scheduled to meet on April 10.

What the Policy Committee will be asked to approve is the decision to send the request by GDOT for the bundling of the funding for the three intersections out for public comment, as required by federal law.

The request for public input joins other transportation projects in the county for which public input is being sought, is likely to be sought in the future, or has been sought in recent months.

Also at the meeting last month, the Technical Coordinating Committee approved a modification of the plans for a roundabout at Rays Church Road and SR 53 (Hog Mountain Road) to increase funding for the right of way phase from $377,936 to $460,897.

This request for Rays Church Road also goes to the Policy Committee, but it does not need to go out for public comment since the county is funding the right of way acquisition and no federal funds are involved.

SR 316 Bundle

Brad Griffin, chair of the MACORTS Technical Coordinating Committee, told the group in its virtual session on March 20 that he was lacking information from GDOT on the changes GDOT is requesting in the MACORTS Transportation Improvement Program (TIP).

Revised Plans For Jimmy Daniell Road From MACORTS
(Click To Enlarge)

Grayson said “What’s happening is we are going to bundle all three projects and make them one project. And that is why the numbers are going up in the first project and decreasing in the next two projects.”

The request from GDOT is to modify the 2024-2027 TIP by zeroing out most of the future costs for Virgil Langford Road and the Oconee Connector in favor of increased funding for Jimmy Daniell Road.

The total listed cost of the three projects also increased from $151. 1 million to $205.5 million, with the first construction funding in 2025.

Because federal funds are involved in the three projects, these changes must be incorporated into the MACORTS planning documents.

MACORTS (Madison Athens-Clarke Oconee Regional Transportation Study) is one of 16 federally mandated metropolitan planning organizations in Georgia and has responsibility for projects in the northern half of Oconee County as well as all of Clarke County and parts of Madison County.

Once the MACORTS Policy Committee approves the draft amendments to the TIP, they will go out for Public Comment from April 19 to May 4, including a public meeting at the Athens Planning Department Auditorium on April 24.

SR 53 Roundabouts

Although public comment is not required for the changes in the MACORTS TIP for the Rays Church Road project, Jody Woodall, Public Works Director for Oconee County, said he anticipates a virtual Public Information Open House will be held for the project.

Woodall is the Oconee County representative on the MACORTS Technical Coordinating Committee, and he said at the March 20 meeting that he thinks GDOT will require the meeting.

The roundabout will include Rays Church Road, Malcom Bridge Road, and SR 53, and Woodall said it is still in design stage.

A second roundabout will be built at Snows Mill Road, Rocky Branch Road, and SR 53, and Woodall said the county is in right of way acquisition on that project at present.

Woodall also told the others on the Technical Coordinating Committee that the county is in right of way acquisition for the multi-use path on Hog Mountain Road from Butler’s Crossing to Wellbrook Road and he expects construction to get underway once two outstanding parcels are acquired.

Other Opportunities For Public Comment

The deadline for providing feedback to GDOT on its plans for the Dials Mill Road/Dials Mill Extension interchange with SR 316 is April 5.

GDOT presented a preferred design for a right-angled, multi-grade junction at a reconfigured Dials Mill Extension in a virtual Public Information Open House on March 22

Comments can be left via the project website

GDOT also is holding another In-Person Public Meeting on its SR 316 Planning Study for Barrow and Oconee counties from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. on April 23 at the City of Statham Community Center, 336 Jefferson Street, Statham.

GDOT held an earlier meeting on its Planning Study at the Bogart Community Center on May 25 of 2023

SR 15 Comment Closed

Public Comment is now closed on GDOT’s plans to add two southbound passing lane segments on SR 15 between Watkinsville and Greensboro.

Passing Lanes SR 15

Segment 1 is a southbound passing lane in Greene County that begins at Cold Springs Road, extends north for approximately 1.78 miles, and then terminates just south of Fishing Creek near where it enters the Oconee River. 

Segment 2 is a southbound passing lane that begins just north of the Oconee County border with Greene County and extends north for approximately 1.23 miles.

The second passing lane terminates just south of Antioch Church Road in Oconee County

The typical section will provide three 12-foot lanes with 10-foot rural shoulders (four-foot paved), according to GDOT.

Preliminary engineering for the $11.1 million project was in 2023, with right of way acquisition scheduled for 2026, and construction set for 2028.

Other SR 316 Projects

GDOT has released to Sharon Thelen, who runs the Oconee 316 Keeping Neighbors Informed web site, three preliminary plans for the McNutt Creek Road intersection with SR 316. 

Thelen submitted an Open Records Request to GDOT for the designs that have been discussed or considered for the McNutt Creek Road interchange.

One design shows McNutt Creek Road shifted west to straighten the intersection that flies over SR 316 and does not include access to SR 316.

Another design shows McNutt Creek Road at its current location that does not fly over SR 316 and allows only right-in and right-out access to SR 316 both south of and north of the divided highway.

The third shows a full, multi-grade interchange of McNutt Creek Road with SR 316, with McNutt Creek Road shifted to the west to create a cleaner 90 degree intersection.

All of these designs show the future home of the Department of Driver Services and of the State Patrol on McNutt Creek Road south of SR 316.

The full interchange design has 10 potential displacements, while the flyover without the interchange shows eight potential displacements, and the right-in, right-out design does not show any displaced properties.

While all of the plans provided to Thelen are stamped “Preliminary,” SueAnne Decker, GDOT District PreConstruction Engineer, said at a meeting of the MACORTS Technical Coordinating Committee in July of last year that a“tight urban design” full interchange will be built at McNutt Creek Road.

Dental Office Sold

Oconee County property records shows that GDOT has acquired the one property it needs for the bundle of Jimmy Daniell Road, Virgil Langford Road, and the Oconee Connector. 

On March 13, according to those records, Mary Lynn and Brent Nail sold their dental office at 1285 Virgil Langford Road to GDOT.

The records do not list the price of the sale. The assessed value of the 1.2 acre parcel was $1.4 million.

The westbound entrance ramp from the Oconee Connector to SR 316 is to pass through the property.

1 comment:

Bill Mayberry said...

They've done it: A roundabout on GA 15.
Bill Mayberry