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12-16-06 Post Election Bad Road News for Oconee County

WHERE IS THE MONEY GOING? (We need answers from Sonny Perdue, Bob Smith and Melvin Davis. Have we been out-maneuvered in the political arena?) Are Developers now driving road priorities in Oconee County (that would not be a surprise to many observers of County Decisions in recent years)

AVOC

December 16, 2006

Post Election Bad Road News for Oconee County

                                   

By Wendell Dawson, Editor, AVOC, Inc.

MARS HILL- EXPERIMENT RD INTERSECTION

       It is deeply disturbing to hear the recent news that the Oconee County Mars Hill-Experiment Road Widening Project has been moved to LONG RANGE in GA DOT Transportation Planning.It takes years of persistence to get a large Transportation Project.When it gets moved to Long Range, folks, it has moved to “never-never land” or the ‘Black Hole’.It will take effort and clout to get the project back.

      Barely a month after re-election of Governor Sonny Perdue and Oconee Representative Bob Smith, we learn that the 8 year-old Mars Hill-Experiment Road Widening Project has been shelved.   This is certainly bad news for folks traveling this corridor.

      It is puzzling about the lack of Transportation Funding.   The Governor and State Legislators are discussing eliminating the Auto ad valorem tax.   The Governor has been able to suspend the Gas tax during high price times.   More gas sales tax is coming in with the higher prices.

     WHERE IS THE MONEY GOING?(We need answers from Sonny Perdue, Bob Smith and Melvin Davis.   Have we been out-maneuvered in the political arena?)Are Developers now driving road priorities in Oconee County (that would not be a surprise to many observers of County Decisions in recent years)

     Other than resurfacing, can one name a single GA DOT project being initiated in Oconee County since 2000?At the same time, US 441 is being widened between Athens and Commerce; US 129 is being widened between Athens and Jefferson.   However, in Oconee County, US 441, GA 15, and GA 53 are not moving on the project chart.

      Oconee has been approving more and more developments on these corridors.   The Experiment Rd- Mars Hill Corridor is not all a State Route.However, it connects two major highways – US 441 and GA 316 as well as serving as a main north – south corridor for residential Oconee County.

      In the 4-5:00 PM time frame, one finds it difficult to exit the Watkinsville Bypass onto Experiment Road (GA Hwy 53).    Some days are worse than others.   Traffic is often backed up on this two-lane road in the area between Butler’s Crossing and Watkinsville.   Traffic is often “bumper to bumper” on Mars Hill Road.

     With all the residential and commercial developments approved and coming to this corridor, the traffic will only get worse.

   As Commission Chairman in the 90’s, I supported the improvement of Experiment Rd- Mars Hill Corridor because of the connectivity and BEFORE DEVELOPMENT DROVE THE PRICE OUT OF SIGHT.   ACORTS and the GA DOT approved the project in 1998 and we started engineering with Moreland-Albotelli.The projections were for ROW acquisition to start around 2001-2.    I have observed that Engineering firm at work on the ground on a number of occasions since 2000.    There is no telling how much money has been spent on engineering!

    It takes years of persistence to get a large Transportation Project.When it gets moved to Long Range, folks, it has moved to “never-never land” or the ‘Black Hole’.It will take effort and clout to get the project back.

    When citizens are sitting in Oconee Traffic and gridlock, they should remember to ask Melvin Davis, Bob Smith and Sonny Perdue what is going on!   Don’t buy the simplistic answer that there is no money!   There seems to be plenty of money for other communities, for a Mega Park and Mega Jail in Oconee County.

    Folks, it is a lack of vision, foresight, planning and leadership that is creating future gridlock in Oconee County.It will cost much more when we do address real infrastructure needs with future Visionary leaders.

7-7-06 Oconee Transportation Projects priorities developer influenced- Big Projects lagging?


12-13-06 State Road Projects Delayed – Oconee Mars Hill Corridor on List

The Athens Banner Herald

http://onlineathens.com/stories/121306/news_20061213050.shtml

December 13, 2006       Morris News Service

Planned road projects postponed by shortfall

Department of transportation

By Vicky Eckenrode

ATLANTA - State transportation officials have been sounding the alarm for several weeks that a funding shortfall is threatening future road projects.

Now, the state Department of Transportation is warning the driving public that plans to widen roads, rebuild interchanges and improve bridges throughout the state have been delayed.

The DOT on Tuesday launched a Web site detailing $.7 billion worth of projects that had been slated to begin construction or study sometime in the next six years, but have been lopped off the department's priority list.

The site - whatsthebigidea.us - outlines what they say is driving the department's current funding crisis and breaks down the delayed projects in each county.

Although the shortfall is not expected to hamper the agency's maintenance and resurfacing activities, it cuts down on the number of projects DOT had in the planning stage.

State Transportation Board Chairman Mike Evans said the DOT expects to receive $1.5 billion in funding for the next six years to spend on construction, but had identified $9.2 billion in work to conduct preliminary studies, buy land and pay for construction. "We had to pare the project list down," Evans said.

That means hundreds of road work projects that had been scheduled to start now move into the DOT's "long-range" plan, where they will have to be reassessed once more money is available……….

ON THE SHELF

These are local road projects the state Department of Transportation has delayed because it does not have enough money for future improvements.

CLARKE COUNTY

- Widening U.S. Highway 441 from the Athens Perimeter to the Jackson County line; $25,000 preliminary engineering project originally planned for 2012.

- Redesigned interchange at Athens Perimeter and Lexington Road; $ million interchange construction work originally planned for 2009.

- Redesigned interchange at Athens Perimeter and Atlanta Highway; $7.9 million interchange construction work originally planned for 2008.

- Widening Old Hull Road from North Avenue to Georgia Highway 72; $ million construction work originally planned for 2013.

OCONEE COUNTY

- Widening Georgia Highway 53 and Mars Hill Road from Georgia Highway 15 to Georgia Highway 316 and the Oconee Connector; $0.7 million construction work originally planned for 2012.


12-13-06 Oconee County Mars Hill Road Project now off state funding chart

http://143.100.37.153/VisEx/projectQueryController.do

OCONEE COUNTY UNFUNDED PROJECTS

Original Plan Year

 

 

 

 

Moved to Year

 

 

 

 

County Cost

 

 

 

 

Description

 

 

 

 

Work Type

 

 

 

 

Phase

 

 

 

 

Status

 

 

 

 

2012

 

 

 

 

LR

 

 

 

 

$ 20,709,000

 

 

 

 

SR 53 & CR 264/MARS HILL RD FM SR 15 TO SR 316 & OCONEE CONN

 

 

 

 

Widening

 

 

 

 

CST

 

 

 

 

UNFUNDED

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2012

 

 

 

 

LR

 

 

 

 

$

20,709,000

 

 

 

 

SR 53 & CR 264/MARS HILL RD FM SR 15 TO SR 316 & OCONEE CONN

 

 

 

 

Widening

 

 

 

 

CST

 

 

 

 

UNFUNDED

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2012

 

 

 

 

LR

 

 

 

 

$

20,709,000

 

 

 

 

SR 53 & CR 264/MARS HILL RD FM SR 15 TO SR 316 & OCONEE CONN

 

 

 

 

Widening

 

 

 

 

CST

 

 

 

 

UNFUNDED

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

OCONEE COUNTY ALL PROJECTS http://143.100.37.153/VisEx/projectQueryController.do  

Original Plan Year

 

 

 

 

Moved to Year

 

 

 

 

County Cost

 

 

 

 

Description

 

 

 

 

Work Type

 

 

 

 

Phase

 

 

 

 

Status

 

 

 

 

2007

 

 

 

 

2009

 

 

 

 

$

12,524,000

 

 

 

 

JENNINGS MILL PKWY EXT FROM EPPS BRIDGE ROAD TO SR 316

 

 

 

 

Roadway Project

 

 

 

 

CST

 

 

 

 

PROGRAMMED

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2007


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