JASPER, Ga. – The citizens of Pickens County breathe a sigh of relief today as County Commission Chairman Rob Jones shares information on funding for repairs of the damage that has shut down Jones Mountain Road close to two months ago.
Citizens have been avoiding the area since February 22, 2019, when the county closed the road after major storms washed out the ridge under the road and caused part of the pavement to crumble away. The road is still closed today, but Jones says this will change soon as the funding will allow them to move forward with a proposal from GeoStabilization International to reopen the road.
The county has secured $1.3 million in funding from the Georgia Transportation Infrastructure Bank with the SRTA (State Road and Tollway Authority as well as an additional $500,000 from the state’s emergency LMIG (Local Maintenance Improvement Grant) to cover the estimated $1.8 million project. These estimations came when Chairman Jones called the event a “major disaster” in early March.
Jones says that additional companies have spoken with the county about their own proposals for the repairs. But utilizing these funds requires the project to meet and adhere to DOT guidelines. Additionally, operating under the emergency status for the county, they will not wait for a bid process that could take up another two months before any repairs begin. Instead, the county is moving forward under the proposal with GeoStabilization International.
While the road will take upwards of two months to fully repair, Jones reiterated his intentions, as he explained in the March Commissioners’ Meeting, to get the road open for use of a single lane within the next two weeks. As part of the proposal, this quick turnaround will address the extra 4.7 miles that both citizens and emergency services must travel to go around the slide area.
While some points of the project are still up for negotiations in the upcoming pre-construction meetings, Jones asserts that the funding will cover the entirety of the project. However, he did note that the county could reach into the $100,000 contingency funds should the need actually arise.
Jones noted that receiving the state funding would not have been possible without a major concerted effort. Pickens County Finance Director Faye Harvey in conjunction with state representatives Steve Gooch, Rick Jasperse, andChuck Payne worked alongside Emily Dunn on the State Board to make a last-minute push for state involvement to bring funds to relieve the citizens from such a major financial impact from this emergency.
Citizens of Pickens should begin seeing the repairs and construction beginning soon and in a matter of weeks, access through the entirety of Jones Mountain Road should be returned, if only a limited one lane access.
JASPER, Ga. – Addressing the 2019 LMIG (Local Maintenance & Improvement Grant), the Pickens County Board of Commissioners Work Session discussed the project at their August Work Session as to what they could accomplish on the list.
The list, used for the discussion, totaled $2,083,467 estimated in materials cost for every one of the forty-one roads included. The list is prioritized according to Pickens County Commission Chairman Rob Jones.
While the board estimates close to $577,000 from the grant, they also noted the increasing prices of asphalt saying the slight increase in funding over last year would not even cover the cost difference.
Jones said in the meeting they would be looking to fund the difference in the LMIG and the rest of their paving would come from SPLOST. However, the list as it stands is for discussion and subject to change before their final decisions coming at the August 16 Regular Session.
The list as it stands is as follows:
Jasper, GA – Pickens County Public Works is well into its paving projects having completed Old Tate Road and Burnt Mountain Road last week and currently paving Cain Trail, and Thompson Lane (Hwy. 53 West side). They also plan to be moving on to Tilley Road and Swan Bridge Road in the coming weeks.
Additionally, subcontractor crews are paving through both the Local Maintenance Improvement Grant and SPLOST funds on behalf of Pickens County. However, these roads and their timing could change due to weather and other variables.
Currently they are paving Old Philadelphia Road, Grady Street, Jackson Street, John Street, Northside Drive, Gordon Road, Myrtle Street, Arminda Street, Glyness Street, W. Gordon Road, Golden Springs Drive, and East Golden Springs Drive.
Citizens will also see work beginning soon on Firetower Road, Ray Road, Brooks Road, Lukes Path, Pineview Court, Twin Oak Court, Mountain View Court, Mountain View Drive, Collins Road, Hopkins Lane, Scenic View, Twin Oaks Circle, Camp Road (53 to Refuge Road section), Still Hollow Road, West Laurel Trace, East Laurel Trace, West Boling Road, East Boling Road, Turner Road, and Turner Road Extension.
This is not necessarily all the roads that will be paved, as some could be added in the months to come depending on the timing of the current roads that are being paved and other various factors according to Public Information Officer Tucker Green.
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