Tobar says county will do excavation work on private land in exchange for “good” dirt

Residents of Old 179 North in Grady County who may be interested in constructing a pond in the future should pay close attention to the county’s efforts to obtain state funding for a major road project here.
Grady County officials huddled with Georgia Department of Transportation officials Friday to continue the discussion of a major rehabilitation of Old 179 North.
County administrator Carlos Tobar met here last Friday with Chad Hartley, DOT district engineer, and Jeff Bridges, DOT district state aid coordinator, along with consulting engineer Stacy Watkins, who participated via telephone.
“A lot of questions were raised about where, how and when county staff could find and move dirt. Complicating the project is the high number of culverts and pipes that have to be extended. Questions were raised about the county’s capability and when culvert pipes could be extended. We will likely face more questions before any decision is made,” Tobar said.
Tobar said that if the project is approved, the county could do excavating work on private property off Old 179 to harvest suitable dirt for the project.
“We’d rather not have to haul the dirt in so if anyone on Old 179 that wanted to build a pond we could do the excavating in exchange for the dirt,” Tobar said this week.
Previously, Tobar had been optimistic that a decision on programming the project would be done quickly, but this week he said no decisions would be made quickly.
“They (DOT officials) have just received the final preliminary engineering report so they have to get a feel for how the final design for this project will look like. That will take time,” Tobar said.
Grady County is seeking approximately $4 million in state funding to complete a widening and full-depth reclamation of Old 179 North.
The county administrator has been lobbying Georgia Department of Transportation Planning Director Jay Roberts with the assistance of State Rep. Darlene Taylor to include the county road in its planned transportation projects.
Tobar notes that even if the project is programmed at the DOT staff level, the project would only become a reality when approved by the DOT board.
Plans call for the widening of the former state route to 12-foot wide lanes. This would include the widening of 11 culverts and extending of 24 pipes.
In 2010, the county completed a full-depth reclamation project on Old 179 South, which runs from Whigham to Calvary and is 12.2 miles long. The total cost of that project was $2,240,430.67, of which the state contributed $691,000 and the county invested $1,459,030 in Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax proceeds.
According to county officials, the last major improvement to the former state route was in 1975 when the DOT ended maintenance on the road and it became a county road.

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