Repaving project up for comment

Athens-Clarke County citizens will have the opportunity to comment on a repaving project for a road almost 15,000 drivers use daily. The Madison Athens-Clarke Oconee Regional Transportation Study (MACORTS), the cooperative transportation planning body for the urbanized area which includes Athens-Clarke County, portions of southern Madison County and northern Oconee County, will host a public informational meeting on Tuesday, March 16. The meeting will take place at the Athens-Clarke County Planning Department Auditorium (120 W. Dougherty St.) from 4-6 p.m.

Up for discussion is a proposed project that involves resurfacing a 2.7 mile stretch of US 441 from the SR10 Loop to an area 0.2 miles south of Newton-Bridge Road. The project would be added as an amendment to the 2010-2013 version of the Transportation Improvement Program (TIP), a document listing all the projects that will receive federal or state funding during the four fiscal years.

The funds for the project, totaling almost $2.3 million, would come from the Jobs for Main Street Act, a federal stimulus bill currently working its way through Congress. Because the legislation has not been signed into law yet, money has not been formally allotted to the project. The Federal Highway Administration and the Georgia Department of Transportation requested that MACORTS add the project to its TIP as a preemptive measure of sorts. If the amendment is passed, MACORTS would utilize funds for this project as soon as the stimulus bill passes through Congress.

The GDOT had the resurfacing as part of its maintenance project agenda.

So far, the amendment has received generally positive responses. “Obviously, anyone who drives on that stretch of roadway will benefit from the repaving,” explains Sherry Moore, Athens-Clarke County transportation planner. Traffic volume on the road measures 14,615 per day. The project proposal estimates that the number will increase by about 10,000 drivers in the next 25 years. Significant sites along this stretch of road include the Athens branch of Consolidated Electrical Distribution, a nationwide distributor of electrical products, and Grainger Industrial Supply, an international provider of industrial products and services.

Moore also mentioned that because the money for the project will come from federal funds, the GDOT will save millions in state maintenance funds.

The meeting will be an informal open house affair. Visitors can inspect a public version of the amendment. There is no formal presentation. Rather, various MACORTS staff members will speak individually with visitors and answer questions.

Additionally, the meeting will act as a stage for citizens to voice their opinions on the project to MACORTS officials. Until March 23, citizens can also submit comments via phone (706-613-3515), mail (120 W. Dougherty St. Athens, GA 30601), e-mail (macorts@co.clarke.ga.us) or the MACORTS website (athensclarkecounty.com/macorts).

MACORTS responds to all comments with a confirmation letter, though they provide no feedback on content. MACORTS’s Policy Committee and Technical Committee will review the comments, in their original format, before they vote on the amendment at an unspecified later date.

PROPOSED ADDITIONAL GRAPHICS

  1. Map of area that will be repaved (found at http://athensclarkecounty.com/macorts/Project%20Sht.pdf)
  2. Breakout information on how to contact MACORTS.
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