Sales tax proceeds would bolster stretch of Log Cabin Drive

jgaines@macon.comApril 22, 2013 

Drivers and walkers on Log Cabin Drive should soon benefit from continuous sidewalks, lights, better drainage and a repaired bridge over Rocky Creek, if Macon City Council approves a contract coming up for consideration in May.

The Macon engineering firm Cunningham & Rowland would be paid $109,500 to design the project, including figuring out how much right-of-way purchases will cost, according to a resolution from Mayor Robert Reichert.

Councilman Frank Tompkins proposed the $1.5 million project in September 2012 as one of several road improvements to be funded from a general street-repair category in the special purpose sales tax initiative that voters approved in 2011.

“I’m just happy that the transformation of that area -- the plan has been in the pipeline -- I’m happy to see that is moving forward,” he said. The heavily traveled road and bridge have needed work for many years, he said.

Now the $1.5 million is allocated from the $19 million in SPLOST anticipation bonds the city sold a year ago. But interim Chief Administrative Officer Dale Walker isn’t sure that will be enough to do everything requested.

There may be substantial right-of-way to buy, from both commercial and residential parcels, along the nearly one-mile stretch slated for work, he said. If that drives the cost above $1.5 million, one of Cunningham & Rowland’s tasks will be coming up with options to scale it back.

Tompkins said, however, that he doesn’t see where much could be cut. Safety is the top priority, so sidewalks, lighting and guardrails are “desperately needed” along some stretches, he said. Drainage must be improved to prevent future erosion, and the bridge is essential to repair.

“I feel that the plan itself is one that we can live with,” he said.

According to the project description in the bid package, the city wants to add a 5-foot-wide sidewalk on one side, from Green Meadows Apartments to Alton Avenue, tying into existing sidewalks along a nearly one-mile stretch. Cunningham & Rowland would choose which side of the road on which to build the sidewalk.

“Selected sections of curb and gutter and selected drainage structures are to be provided as necessary to control drainage in the area,” the package states. “Extensive widening or regrading is not anticipated. A turn lane for vehicles traveling northeast on Log Cabin Drive and turning onto Hollingsworth Road needs to be developed.”

It also calls for fixing all problems found in a 2010 state inspection of the Rocky Creek bridge

“This bridge structure is in poor condition with corrosion and minor section loss in the steel superstructure,” that report states. Beams need to be cleaned, patched and painted; erosion filled, and more than a yard of bridge deck reattached to support beams. Engineers are also expected to figure how much it will cost to safely remove lead paint from the bridge.

If the contract is approved, all design work would be done in six months. Six firms sent in bids, and Cunningham & Rowland was the lowest, according to an April 2 memo from purchasing agent Greg Cline. The rest ranged from $120,400 to $157,998.

To contact writer Jim Gaines, call 744-4489.

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