Macon streets to get extensive SPLOST work

Roadwork priority list to be voted on by council, paid for by SPLOST funds

jgaines@macon.comNovember 29, 2012 

Macon residents should soon see some hard results from the sales tax voters approved by a 3-to-1 margin a year ago.

Very hard results.

The 2011 special purpose local option sales tax included $10 million to be split evenly between the city and Bibb County for repairing existing streets. Bill Causey, who was then the city’s engineering manager, said last year that specific city streets hadn’t been identified, but those most in need of repair would get the work.

Since the SPLOST passed, the Macon engineering department consolidated with Bibb County’s, so the county has complied a list of 99 segments of city streets to be repaired with SPLOST money.

An Oct. 22 memo from city interim Chief Administrative Officer Dale Walker breaks down the financial details.

Asphalt, brick and concrete streets are all slated to get work. Twenty-four asphalt streets should see repair in the next few months, at a cost of $650,000.

The top five priorities of asphalt streets are sections of Yorktown Road, West Ridge Circle, Valley Forge Road, North Beddingfield Drive and Derrel Drive, according to the list.

Sections of five brick streets will get $200,000 worth of work. Those are High Street, High Place, Orange Terrace, Orange Street and Dures Lane.

And 34 sections of concrete streets will have $650,000 spent on cutting, patching and grinding, with Seventh Street, First Street, Ell Street, Hazel Street and Felton Avenue leading the list.

And the city’s in line for $667,425 in state Local Maintenance and Improvement Grant funding. More SPLOST money is being used for the required local matching funds, plus some extra, for a total of $925,485. That should buy work on another 34 streets, starting with First Street, Third Street, Audubon Place, Duncan Avenue and Northern Street. Repairs there and elsewhere should start in February, according to the project list.

Ken Sheets, Bibb County engineer, refused to talk about the upcoming work before the list is discussed at the City Council’s Appropriations Committee meeting Monday. But Sheets did compile the priority list, Walker said Thursday by e-mail.

“He has a computer program that can base selection on cracks, potholes, number of cars using it and a great deal of other items,” Walker said. “This comes out and gives an unbiased list.”

“The county will handle the process for us and we transfer funds to pay bills,” Walker said.

The state grant requires a 30 percent match from the city because on July 31, Bibb County voters defeated another SPLOST for transportation, Walker said. Had the Transportation SPLOST, or T-SPLOST, passed, the city match would have been 10 percent.

Nearly $1.7 million more of the city’s SPLOST money has been allocated in the past few months for work on Log Cabin Drive, Twin Pines and New Street, the Oglethorpe Street bridge, patching a few other streets and building a roundabout at the corner of Oglethorpe and College streets.

The bridge work is done and the roundabout should be built in early 2013, according to the project list.

The already approved work, combined with SPLOST spending on the new project list and matching the state grant, totals about $3.4 million. Since the SPLOST gives the city $5 million for street repair, there’s still another $1.6 million available for projects to come, Walker said.

To contact writer Jim Gaines call 744-4489.

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