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County agrees to pay up to $35,000 for engineering of roundabout

Grady County commissioners continue to consider the construction of a roundabout at the intersection of GA Hwy. 188, Old Thomasville Road, and Airport Road.
The cost of the project will likely top $1 million, which county administrator Carlos Tobar says will be paid for with state funds and not local tax dollars.
However, county commissioners want to see that in writing before giving final approval to the project.
“Do we have anything other than verbal? We need documentation,” Chairman Charles Norton said Tuesday night.
Commissioner Ray Prince said the county would need something in writing before he would agree to move forward with the project.
Tobar said the county would be able to pull the plug on the project if the state does not commit to pay for the full-cost of constructing the roundabout.
The administrator on Tuesday night told commissioners that preliminary engineering must be done in order to determine the cost of the project.
Consulting engineer Stacy Watkins has proposed a not-to-exceed fee of $35,000 to perform the preliminary engineering on the project.
Watkins said he had to propose a figure that would cover all of his costs, but suggested his actual fee may come in less. “This is on an hourly basis not-to-exceed,” Watkins said.
The engineer also told commissioners Tuesday night it was unlikely the project could be constructed for the $1 million the state has committed.
Chairman Norton also questioned the amount of dirt that would need to be hauled by county forces as part of the project. “More than you might think,” Watkins predicted.
The outgoing commission chairman said it could be as much as four to five years before county forces could be committed to hauling the dirt for the roundabout project based on other projects the county is currently involved in.
Tobar said he was planning to begin the project in 2019. According to the administrator, the state would not program a project as far out as Norton was suggesting.
The administrator also said that Watkins’ fee could be paid out of the safety action plan grant the county was awarded by the state and no county money would be spent.
Commissioners also had questions about who would be required to maintain the roundabout, the state or the county?
Watkins said that would be a matter to discuss with state officials since it impacts a state route.
According to Tobar, the Georgia Department of Transportation is prepared to commit $1 million for the construction of a roundabout at the dangerous intersection.
The county would be responsible for acquiring any necessary rights-of-way, relocating utilities, obtaining an engineering design and conducting required environmental studies.
On Tuesday night, Watkins told commissioners that based on the final design it could become necessary for the county to have to acquire additional right-of-way.
Tobar previously said that only two-tenths of an acre of right-of-way would have to be acquired and he said that no utilities would have to be relocated.
Commissioners did not approve hiring engineers to conduct environmental studies required, which Tobar also said could be paid for with grant funds, but they unanimously approved to pay Watkins up to $35,000 for the required preliminary engineering on the project.

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