Houston gets state grant for road resurfacing

wcrenshaw@macon.comNovember 25, 2012 

WARNER ROBINS -- Money set aside for road surfacing in Houston County’s special purpose local option sales tax will stretch a lot further thanks to a state grant.

The Georgia Department of Transportation is giving the county $549,553 for road resurfacing. The county has to put up a 30 percent match, which is $164,866 that will come out of sales tax funds for resurfacing.

Commission Chairman Tommy Stalnaker said it means the county will be able to resurface a lot more roads than it could have by paying for it all itself. The state’s Local Maintenance Improvement Grant will lead to the resurfacing of all or parts of 15 roads.

The list comprises Cohen Walker Drive, Granville Street, Harner Road, Wimbish Way, Wexford Circle, Peachtree Boulevard, South Spring Drive, Horseshoe Drive, Covey Drive, Jennifer Boulevard, Water Drive, Cardinal Ridge, Tanager Lane, Falcon Crest and Cliff Point. A total of nine miles of road will be resurfaced.

The exact cost won’t be known until bids are done, but Stalnaker said he expects it to be fairly close to the total estimate of $714,419.

The county has to submit the list of roads to the state for approval, and Stalnaker said the list will most likely be accepted as is. The money will come in February or March, and the work will be done in April and May.

The state does an audit of the grant to make sure it is used on the roads approved.

“It’s not some money you are going to be able to do something else with,” Stalnaker said.

In some cases, travelers on those roads might not see a noticeable need for resurfacing. Cohen Walker Drive, for example, might not look that bad, but in places it is showing what Stalnaker called an “alligator” effect, in which the pavement starts to look like the back of an alligator. If left unchecked, Stalnaker said, the problem could become much worse and would take more than a simple resurfacing to repair.

The state allots a certain amount to counties each year for resurfacing local roads. It used to be the state didn’t just give the money but managed the projects itself. Now the county is more in control, but there is also a disadvantage.

Stalnaker said the state would previously combine road resurfacing from multiple counties into one contract, which would get a better price. He thinks the county could still get a similar savings by joining with other counties to combine all of their road projects into a single contract. Stalnaker said he plans to contact other counties to gauge interest in that.

To contact writer Wayne Crenshaw, call 256-9725.

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