OTHER BOC NEWS
• County Manager John Middleton said the county will put out a request for a proposal for grant-writer services next week. The county is considering hiring a firm to write grants, as opposed to hiring a full-time grant writer, to save on the cost. The county has budgeted $50,000 for grant- writing service this year.
The county is moving forward with its plan to move Alcovy Trestle Road, located off Ga. Highway 11, because of its confusing proximity to the westbound on-ramp for Interstate 20.
The Newton County Board of Commissioners voted 4-1 to approve the low bid of $50,020 in engineering work from Moreland Altobelli Associates, with Commissioner John Douglas opposing the project.
The costs will be paid from 2005 SPLOST funds, County Engineer Tom Garrett said. The original design work was completed in 2008, and the right-of-way has been negotiated, Garrett said.
The entire Alcovy Trestle Road relocation will cost around $750,000 and will pay for:
• The current portion of Alcovy Trestle Road, south of River Cove Road, to be removed and grassed.
• River Cove Road to essentially be extended all the way to Ga. 11 to create more separation from the westbound on-ramp at I-20 exit 98.
• Widening of Ga. 11.
• A dedicated left-turn lane onto the westbound I-20 ramp for drivers traveling north on Ga. 11.
• A dedicated right-turn deceleration lane onto I-20 traveling southbound on Ga. 11.
Garrett said previously the county will use 2005 SPLOST money in addition to $200,000 that the Georgia Dept. of Transportation gave the county for "quick response" projects in September.
According to previous stories, engineering work was completed on the road project in 2007 or 2008, but has to be redone because state requirements must be met before the state will give money to a project. The project had originally been planned to be handled totally with local money; accepting the state money resulted in an overall cost savings for the county.
When asked, Garrett said construction could start in February or March. The project could be put out for bid in January.
Nearby residents have said the stretch of Ga. 11 is confusing and dangerous.
"I believe it is a very dangerous intersection, and it’s a road improvement that we’ve needed to do for many years. I’ve heard from many residents in the River Cove community," District 5 Commissioner Tim Fleming said in December 2012.
However, Commissioner Douglas said he believes the project is a waste of money.
"Spending more than $700,000 of county and state tax money to move a road because a few drivers can’t decide where to turn is a complete waste and misuse of tax dollars," Douglas said in a follow-up email to The News. "The problem could be easily solved by moving the interstate entrance signs to the other side of the entrance ramp rather than having them between the ramp and Alcovy Trestle Road, but GDOT officials tell me regulations prevent that move.
"So instead of spending a few dollars to move signs and using common sense to correct a small problem, an obscure rule and inflexible state bureaucrats will force us to spend more than $700,000 taxpayer dollars to build a completely new road between River Cove Road and Ga. 11."