DOT blamed for cart bridge delay

Thu, 08/23/2007 - 3:38pm
By: John Munford

DOT blamed for cart bridge delay

Peachtree City officials have grown frustrated with the amount of time it has taken the Georgia Department of Transportation to approve making cart path connections to the new bridge spanning the CSX railroad tracks along Ga. Highway 54.

The emotion spilled over at the end of Thursday’s council meeting, as the project remains unfinished though the city had initially planned to open it this past April.

The city has been required to do archaeological, environmental and historical surveys to show the potential impact the bridge might or might not have in the area, said City Manager Bernie McMullen.

“It’s absolutely ridiculous,” said Councilman Stuart Kourajian.

The big problem is that DOT is treating the project as if it were an actual road and not just a sidewalk, McMullen said.

“We are going through the same process for, in essence, sidewalks, that you’d be going through in building a road,” McMullen said. That includes environmental reviews, archeological surveys and “whether or not we’re going to impact migratory birds. ... We’re going through all of this to build a sidewalk.”

McMullen said that he understands there are other higher-priority road projects the DOT is reviewing, and that could be part of the problem. The city is hoping the legislature will enact a way to change the process, McMullen said.

“We could not convince them that it was a sidewalk because their procedures don’t allow for that,” said City Planner David Rast.

Mayor Harold Logsdon said he didn’t blame city staff for the lengthy delay in the project, as staff has well-documented its phone calls and meetings with DOT and its consultants.

“It wasn’t from a lack of effort on the part of Peachtree City staff,” Logsdon said, noting that he has gotten some critical calls from citizens.

Logsdon said he has a short meeting scheduled soon with Gov. Sonny Perdue on another topic and he hopes to at least briefly bend the governor’s ear on this issue too.

Rast said the latest version of construction and right-of-way plans are being reviewed by the DOT’s consulting engineering firm, Moreland Altobelli Associates and the DOT. As to when the approval might occur, Rast replied: “I don’t even want to guess.”

Rast said the DOT wouldn’t let Moreland Altobelli review the construction and right-of-way plans until the environmental permit was approved.

There was a delay in the city being notified that one permit was approved early on in the process, and McMullen said to be fair part of that could be chalked up to personnel changes at Moreland Altobelli among its project managers.

Rast said the city has spoken with representatives for the Atlanta Regional Commission and the Georgia Department of Transportation about the problem, and he noted that other cities are having similar problems with DOT for projects that are funded by grants.

Logsdon said he has already spoken with state legislators Sen. Ronnie Chance and Rep. Dan Lakly on the matter also.

“We need to address it on our legislative agenda because it’s frustrating,” Logsdon said. “The system is broke right now. But I think we can fix it.”

login to post comments

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
Submitted by dollaradayandfound on Fri, 08/24/2007 - 8:02am.

Seems that everyone has been "spoken to," as the comment above indicates, and even one approval was neglected!
Is that rust on the bridge, or pre-paint preservative?

Submitted by McDonoughDawg on Fri, 08/24/2007 - 7:43am.

I think someone at the State needs their ear bent on this issue. Anyone have any contacts? Sounds like to me that's exactly what they need. This is ridiculous. An obvious traffic reducing entity in our City delayed by DOT because they claim to be worried about Indian Heads and migrating birds.

LifeLongResident's picture
Submitted by LifeLongResident on Sat, 08/25/2007 - 10:12am.

This is what you get when 1. unelected bureaucrats are put in charge - they don't care about the results. 2. someone else is paying the bill, i.e. federal grant money. 3. letting liberals have power in government (environmental impact studies, migatory birds etc...)

It seems incompetence is not a requirement to work in government, but it appears to be a resume enhancement.

If a person is willing to sacrifice a little freedom to gain a little security, they deserve neither - Ben Franklin

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.