The Houston County Commission approved contracts Tuesday to design two major road widening projects.
The largest is the widening of about 2 miles of Elberta Road from Northside Drive to Carl Vinson Parkway. The road would be widened from two lanes to three with a center turn lane and a sidewalk added. The project is estimated to cost $7 million, including the cost of construction, property acquisition and moving utilities.
Commission Chairman Tommy Stalnaker said the design phase alone could take two years. That includes acquiring additional rights of way that will be needed.
“It’s going to be a long process,” he said. “There’s a lot we have to deal with in the form of utilities and right of way. It’s going to be a little while but the process has begun, and that’s the most important thing.”
The project is funded by the 2012 sales tax initiative.
R.K. Shah & Associates of Duluth was selected from among four companies that submitted proposals to design the project at a cost of $329,450.
The second project is much smaller but involves an important street in Centerville. It would widen East Church Street from Houston Lake Road to Collins Avenue. The length is only about a third of a mile, but the street runs in front of the Centerville Municipal Complex and the city court.
Stalnaker said the design on that should be easier because the city owns much of the property needed. If right-of-way acquisition goes well, he said construction could start by the end of the year. That project also involves widening the road from two lanes to three with a center turn lane and a sidewalk.
“It’s a good project, and I’m excited about seeing it happen,” he said.
The project is important enough that Centerville Councilman Edward Armijo, City Attorney Rebecca Tydings and Director of Operations Mike Brumfield came to the meeting to see the contract approved.
“Church Street is in serious need of repair and widening,” Armijo told the board. “We are here to show support and show you that we care about the work that you are doing.”
Saunders Engineering of Centerville was awarded a contract of $49,000 to design the project, which is also funded by proceeds from the 2012 sales tax bid. The project is estimated to cost $1.5 million. It is considered an extension of the widening of Gunn Road, which runs into Church Street.
Both the Church Street and Elberta Road projects will replace the drainage ditches that run along both now with a curb-and-gutter design.