Grant funds for cart bridge disappear

Fri, 11/07/2008 - 2:30pm
By: John Munford

City may proceed without grant, likely speeding up process

The funding crunch at the Georgia Department of Transportation is now hitting Peachtree City.

The result could be that the long-unfinished cart path bridge over the CSX railroad tracks won’t be completed anytime soon.

Funding is on hold indefinitely for a grant to finish the project due to the DOT’s fiscal crisis, City Planner David Rast said Thursday night.

The bridge itself is completed; all that remains is construction of the path links to the bridge, which will span from the bridge down to tunnels built under the road.

The city is compiling estimates on how much it will cost to complete the project without the state grant. That could be a blessing, as it would likely speed up the project compared to the DOT timeline presented to city officials which was really only valid if the grant funding magically reappeared.

If the city handles the project, the only DOT approval needed would be for an encroachment permit, which could be procured from the regional DOT office with little trouble, said City Manager Bernie McMullen.

The DOT was proposing to take a minimum of five to six months before construction could begin, according to a timeline Rast shared with the City Council.

After that, Rast said, “we would be put on a waiting list with all of the other construction projects.”

Councilwoman Cyndi Plunkett suggested the city’s newly elected state senator, Ronnie Chance, and state representative, Matt Ramsey, be contacted to get the situation resolved.

“This is ridiculous,” Plunkett said.

Rast said he hated to drop pursuit of the grant because of the amount of staff and consultant time that has been spent on the project.

The project is a continuing saga of such bureaucratic proportions that it has almost become a joke among city officials despite their anger at the continual delays. The sloth’s pace of the project has been blamed on the DOT, its consulting engineering firm and the arduous approval process tied to grant projects.

At one point the project was on hold for months awaiting a permit certifying the path wouldn’t adversely affect air quality. The only vehicles allowed on the path system are electric powered and have no emissions.

Plus the path system’s other patrons — bikers, skaters, joggers and walkers — in some cases improve air quality by ditching their gas-powered autos for short trips that can be accomplished on the paths.

As part of the powerpoint presentation to council, Rast displayed a photo of Assistant City Planner Tony Bernard, with a wide smile as he delivered the latest round of documents to DOT offices Oct. 30. The photo was taken before it was learned funding for the bridge project has disappeared ... at least for now.

Earlier this year it was reported that the DOT faced a $465 million shortfall, but bond financing was used to cut the figure to $189 million.

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Cyclist's picture
Submitted by Cyclist on Sat, 11/08/2008 - 7:29am.

And since the path will only be used by PTC residents then perhaps the good citizens there should come with up the money. Perhaps a PTC Transportation SPLOST.
Caution - The Surgeon General has determined that constant blogging is an addiction that can cause a sedentary life style.

The Crime Dog's picture
Submitted by The Crime Dog on Sat, 11/08/2008 - 10:37pm.

B/C PTC has "paths" on the current transportation SPLOST list.

So guess where this money will come from to build the path for the bridge? You guessed it.

Submitted by forteiii on Sat, 11/08/2008 - 6:39am.

We have a staff of workers that repairs/replaces cart paths on a daily/weekly basis. Let's just pour some paths and open the bridge! Then, put the cost of pouring the run up paths on a bill and have our new Representative and Senator present it to the DOT for payment. The bridge and tunnels are done. Let's use them! I think I should run for mayor on a platform that I could have this bridge open in a week. Come on now...Let's get proactive! In economic times like these, it will only help business on both sides of the brige!

Submitted by UrKidding on Fri, 11/07/2008 - 10:01pm.

as it is since it's been there so long no one even notices it. What a joke the whole thing has been to get a bridge for golf cart use. Oh but wait will Wieland have more success with his bridge if the 80 something acres is rezoned and a golf cart bridge is constructed to connect to 74 north? I'm willing to bet that one is approved and usable before this one is...any takers??

ImJustSaying's picture
Submitted by ImJustSaying on Fri, 11/07/2008 - 10:32pm.

My money is on Wieland

Michael Boylan's picture
Submitted by Michael Boylan on Fri, 11/07/2008 - 10:37pm.

Just posted the story.

ImJustSaying's picture
Submitted by ImJustSaying on Fri, 11/07/2008 - 10:38pm.


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