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Grady County administrator J.C. (Buddy) Johnson III, alerted county commissioners last week that he had been in talks with the county’s consulting engineer on transportation infrastructure improvement projects and said a priority list would soon be formulated.
Johnson reported that the county’s application for a Georgia Transportation Infrastructure Bank (G.T.I.B.) loan/grant that officials had hoped to obtain to finance a full depth reclamation of Open Pond Road had not been approved.
The estimated cost of the project last October was $2,157,000. If the G.T.I.B. funding had been approved, only $707,000 could come from grant funds for the project. The county would have been loaned an additional $750,000 at 1.59 percent for 10 years and the remaining approximately $700,000 would have to have come out of the county’s general fund or Transportation Special Purpose Local Options Sales Tax proceeds.
Johnson said that he is working with consulting engineer Stacy Watkins, who assisted with the G.T.I.B. application, to identify other financing opportunities.
There is currently $380,000 earmarked for Open Pond Road improvements in the county’s 2020 budget.
The county administrator asked for direction from the board whether or not to tackle Open Pond Road to its intersection with Old 179 North or all the way to the Decatur County line. Commissioner June Knight said the road was in “pretty bad” shape all the way to the Decatur County line.
Johnson said he will request pricing for both options.
Commissioners also discussed the need to address Mizpah Road and Pine Park Road. Johnson said the bridge on Pine Park Road was narrow and would be a multimillion dollar replacement.
Commissioner LaFaye Copeland said there were other roads that needed to be on the priority list, and she would share those with the administrator.
“We have a lot of roads to fix and a limited amount of money. We want to get as many as we can get done,” Johnson said.
Commissioner Knight also noted that Ridge Road was in bad condition.
In related business, Commissioner Knight asked why the county doesn’t look into contracting with a private vendor to mow on the sides of county roads like the state does. According to the county administrator, the county has looked into the possibility, but can do it cheaper with county staff.
“Yeah, because we’re not mowing,” Knight said.
Commissioner Copeland said she too had received numerous complaints about the roadsides not being mowed regularly.
Johnson said another issue with mowing is the fact that road crews are tied up on the Johnson Road Community Development Block Grant project.
“Once we get it off our back we can get on some other road projects,” Johnson said.