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CITIZENS OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE
MACON-BIBB COUNTY SALES TAX ROAD PROGRAM
OCTOBER 16, 2003
COMMITTEE MEMBERS PRESENT:
DAN DUNWODY, JR.
OLA MAE FORD
CLAUDE JOINER REPORTING SERVICE, INC.
410 AMERICAN FEDERAL BUILDING
P. O. BOX 94
MACON, GEORGIA 31202-0094
TELEPHONE: 912/742-6611 or 746-7804
MR. DUNWODY: We'll go ahead and call the meeting to order. We're running a little late. Has everyone had a chance to read the minutes? They were sent out to us earlier in the month as I recall, or earlier after the last meeting. Any changes, additions, deletions to the minutes? Anybody want to suggest anything? If not, can I hear a motion they be approved --
MR. SHEPARD: So moved.
MR. PACE: I'll make a motion they be approved.
MR. DUNWODY: -- as published? If there is no objection, the minutes will stand approved.
Any audience comments? How is Joe Patterson by the way? Have you heard?
MR. ETHERIDGE: I hadn't heard from him lately. I sure haven't.
MR. DUNWODY: He's our extra member of the committee.
MR. ETHERIDGE: Yeah.
MR. DUNWODY: I believe at our last meeting he had just had a hip operation, wasn't it?
MR. ETHERIDGE: He did. He had broken his hip and they had operated on it.
MR. DUNWODY: Steve, you want to give us the Minority Report?
MR. DUVAL: Yes, sir. Good afternoon everyone. I'll call your attention to Tab 4 in your agenda package. This Minority Business Report is as of April 2003. If I could, I'll call your attention to the bottom line. Right now we are, of all the contracts that we have awarded we are operating at about 21 percent minority participation. And that's to the tune of about real close to $20,000,000 now. With a couple of contracts that are going to be awarded here recently it will put our MBE amount at $19,912,110, which is an additional $478,246 from what's on your report. And of this, we have paid over 17 and a half million dollars to our minority contractors. So we are operating above our 20 percent participation and things seem to be going well. I'll entertain any questions about the report if anybody has any.
MR. DUNWODY: Any questions? If there are no questions on the minority, let's, Van, would you like to talk to us about the bids you received?
MR. ETHERIDGE: Good evening. On July 29th, Bibb County took bids on three projects. The first one was some improvements at Mulberry and Second Street, and under Tab 5A is some information concerning that. That intersection at Mulberry and Second consisted of putting in new crosswalks across the street, new sidewalks and pedestrian lighting, some landscaping and irrigation of the intersection.
There was only one bid received from Northeast Concrete and it was $906,873.06. This was quite a bit above the engineer's estimate, and we had recommended that the County not accept this bid and the project be rebid later. And the County did take our recommendation and the bid will be rebid.
The next project a bid was taken on is under Tab 5B, and this was a project consisting of providing new materials for signs at some 1300 intersections in Macon and Bibb County. You might have seen some of those signs around. Some of them are about eight inches tall and have got large numbers on them where you can read them at quite a distance. That's with the name of the street. And we did have a couple of bidders on it. The low bid was from Northeast Concrete at $336,500. The contract time to do that work was a year, and the County has awarded this project to Northeast. The work should be starting soon on the project.
The third project that bids were received on was a landscaping project and welcome sign out on Emery Highway right at the Macon city limits. There was only one bid received from Alpha Concrete Services in the amount of $72,189.78 which was quite a bit above the engineering estimate. We had asked the County to let us negotiate with that contractor, since there were some problems with that bid, and see if we could get a bid that would be more in line with the engineer's estimate. They did allow that, and we were able to reduce the bid by some 34 percent to $47,289.78. And Bibb County did accept the renegotiated bid and awarded it to Alpha Concrete Services.
And that was the three bids that Bibb County has taken. Mr. Chairman, if it's okay I'll just move on to the next item.
MR. DUNWODY: Go ahead.
MR. ETHERIDGE: And it's some bids that Bibb County is going to take November the 10th. And it has three projects also.
The first is our Poplar Street project. And this is the project that runs from City Hall down to MLK Boulevard, and it's been a long time coming as a lot of you know. That project consists of quite a few things. Certainly heavy landscaping, a new lighting system for pedestrians along there, some fountains in the median, a lot of masonry work and just repaving of the existing street. And this project has a completion date of next March, 2005. This is quite a large project.
Also bids will be received again on the Mulberry at Second Street. It's being rebid again and hopefully with Poplar Street we can get a bid that will be more in line with estimated costs of Mulberry at Second. And it would have a completion date of next April, 2004.
So that's two of the projects. And the third one is a demolition project out on one of our right-of-way projects, Bloomfield at Rocky Creek, that project out there, Project Number 13. And what it is for is to demolish a 1500 square foot frame house out there that's on the new acquired right-of-way out there. And the successful bidder would have 60 days to remove that house.
So those are the three that we'll take bids on on November the 10th. Any questions about any of the bids? Mr. Chairman, I'll just move on to my report if --
MR. DUNWODY: What is the time date on that street name signs that you let out?
MR. ETHERIDGE: One year.
MR. DUNWODY: One year.
MR. ETHERIDGE: That's some 1300 intersections. That will allow them to purchase the materials and all and then to fabricate it and then allow them some time to get it in.
MR. DUNWODY: Okay. I was just curious. Go ahead, Van, with the Program report.
MR. ETHERIDGE: I'll first mention some projects that we have under construction now. I don't know if any of you travel Forsyth Street downtown or not, but between College and City Hall that project is moving along now. Northeast Concrete is the contractor down there, and he's some 41 percent complete. He's been doing curb and gutter and sidewalks, some underground conduit for the signal system and the lighting system, and they're making pretty good progress out there on that project. He's supposed to be through May 1st of next year. I think he'll make that all right.
Another project is out on Bass Road in North Bibb, two intersections, Forsyth Road and also at Rivoli Drive. And this project was to put turn lanes and traffic signals out there. We have had the utilities relocated. They're out of the way now except jointly owned who are supposedly starting their work maybe this week and hopefully no later than next week. And the roadway contractor is also getting ready to get started out there, Reeves Construction Company. Estimated completion will be probably next Spring on those intersections.
The next project is Bloomfield Drive in South Macon from Eisenhower Parkway back over to Rocky Creek Road. This contract now is basically complete. The contractor lacks some grassing work and clean up mostly on that project.
Out in East Bibb, the Millerfield Road project, which is, starts at Bristol Drive and goes out to Shurling Drive is well underway now. Kemi Construction Company, an MBE contractor, is doing that work, and he's 30 percent complete now, and he is doing mostly curb and gutter and grading and some widening work out there and some base work. He's supposed to be through by June of next year.
Also the traffic signal installation project that had 52 intersections in the City and the County is about 50 percent complete now. Georgia Electric Company is doing the work. It was some four and a half million dollars worth of work. And he's now setting a lot of strain poles and placing signals. A lot of signals are bagged up and are not working as yet so he's still working on that. Those intersections and the ones that's downtown here is going to be almost in the neighborhood of a hundred new signalized intersections with new equipment and fiber optics feeding into the Traffic Management Center here.
Also we have two In Town Historic District Sidewalk Repair projects. The first one SACAL Environmental was doing. He's doing 14 streets and he's completed now except for his punch list and he's still fiddling around with that. Sam Hart and Son had the other contract for 9 streets, and he's about 70 percent complete now. And he's been working down on Cherry Street trying to fix some of those places down there. We also have a Phase 3 that's ready to go to field plan review and it will cover 9 more streets basically in the area from College to Riverside Drive back over to Georgia Avenue and Spring Street, in that area right there.
MR. DUNWODY: And you're doing what to those now?
MR. ETHERIDGE: He's repairing sidewalks. It's not a wholesale new sidewalk project but he's going in and fixing places that need repairing.
The other big project out in South Bibb is the Hartley Bridge at I-75, Phase 1 of the project, that Reeves Construction has. It was an $11,000,000 project that's gotten underway recently. They're currently grading on the Skipper Road relocation, clearing right-of-way and building a new concrete culvert there on the relocation. They're supposed to be through in May of 2005. So there's quite a bit of work there, to take place there.
Also on Log Cabin from Eisenhower to Mercer, Reeves Construction has that contract. It's 16 percent complete now. They've been doing some grading and some drainage installation over there. It's supposed to be through March of next year. They've got a long ways to go in a short time.
And on Northside Drive, the Forest Hill to Wesleyan project, any of you have been out there lately have seen that there has been some progress going on out there. They've done a lot of paving. He has finally shifted the traffic to where he can finish the next, well, the last two phases of work there to complete that. They've told me that they would either be through by the end of this month or certainly by the middle of next month. We'll be glad when they're all finished. It's been a long time.
That's the end of my report. Joe --
MR. DUNWODY: How long have they been working on that out there now?
MR. ETHERIDGE: I suspect at least a couple of years.
MR. DUNWODY: At least.
MR. ETHERIDGE: That ends my report, but Joe is going to mention a few of our projects that are under design that you might be interested in.
MR. DUNWODY: Does anybody have any questions?
MR. FISCHER: I have a comment. I think that it's great that on Bass that you're doing intersections ahead of the major project because I think some of the greatest benefit comes from intersection improvements. And it's crazy to wait if there's ever any safety considerations until you do the whole project. So I think that's a very good sign. I wish we had done that on Northside because if they had done it on Northside and Wesleyan they would have solved one of the biggest problems there, which is all the traffic --
MR. DUNWODY: Then they can just go right in and tie in with the intersections.
MR. FISCHER: Yeah. You know, that's one of the reasons we passed that resolution last time was that if they had expedited that and put up a signal, the safety in that area and the convenience of the people that travel that route would have been tremendously enhanced. So I commend you for doing it on Bass.
MR. SHEPARD: Van, I have a question. I don't know if you have an answer or not. But what do you account for the fact that we have so little bid participation?
MR. ETHERIDGE: Well --
MR. SHEPARD: Is our economy that good?
MR. ETHERIDGE: It has been. I think the last time that we bid, we sold more bid packages that time than we ever had before, but we received fewer bids. We had a lot of lookers but not a lot of people participating.
MR. SHEPARD: It looks like even the one that bid here really didn't want it the way he bid it if you were able to negotiate it for almost half price.
MR. ETHERIDGE: He had it jacked up.
MR. SHEPARD: Yeah. It looks like he really didn't want the job.
MR. ETHERIDGE: It's hard to say about the bid market. You know how it is, you're a contractor, too. But, of course highway work is pretty well specialized too. There's only five or six big companies that do it and it takes a lot of subs for them to do it, too. The competition is somewhat limited.
MR. DUNWODY: Any other questions or comments? Do we have any audience --
MR. JOHNSON: Mr. Chairman, if I could go over the design projects right quick.
MR. DUNWODY: Excuse me. Go ahead, Joe.
MR. JOHNSON: I'll be brief. I'll just go over some of the projects we have under design remaining in the Road Program.
Just briefly, one of our 5A projects, it's our College Street Intersections Project. It's at College Street and Georgia and College Street at Hardeman and Washington intersection. Those projects have been around a long time in the concept phase, and we have now just about completed design on those two intersections and we are finalizing some landscaping plans on that. And that will upgrade the traffic signals and put your mast arms like you see downtown. And we're going to put turn lanes at both intersections and hopefully cut down on the cycle time for those two intersections. I imagine we'll let those about the first of the year.
MR. DUNWODY: Where are your turning lanes going to be by the library there?
MR. JOHNSON: We're actually coming down College Street from Mercer University --
MR. DUNWODY: Right.
MR. JOHNSON: -- we are putting another left turn lane in there so that will not back the traffic up there. And we are also putting one coming out of town at Hardeman. We're putting a left turn lane there so that we're also not backing traffic up that's trying to get out of town. Most of the widening is coming from right there at the corner of the library and some of that intersection is actually getting smaller across there in front of the Post Office. We'll actually be narrowing down the section a little bit. There's a really wide section of paving there and we're going to be able to run the paving and the curb line in a little bit and reduce the section and that will help us a lot on those intersections. Basically what we're trying to do is just get the turning cars out of the through movement so we'll be able to speed those signal times up a little bit.
Let's see. Van mentioned Poplar Street. It's been under design for quite a while. It's going to be let next month.
Our Jeffersonville Road projects, which includes Jeffersonville Road from Emery Highway down near Lakeside Park onto Emery Road, and also Millerfield Road from the Jeffersonville Road intersection up to New Clinton Road. The design on this project has been completed for quite some time. We're waiting on our environmental document to be approved by the Federal Highway Administration. This document was turned back in for the fifth time on July 7th. It's currently undergoing review.
One of the problems we have with these environmental documents is they get sent back to us with comments, and we make these comments and send them back in. In that short period of time the standards have been changed or the requirements have been changed. They raise the bar on us and we have to resubmit it. This seems to be an ongoing process for us to try to keep up. So hopefully we'll get some word on that one pretty soon and we'll be able to move ahead with those projects, at least the right-of-way phase.
Projects 8 and 9, Forest Hill Road. Project number 9 is Forest Hill Road from Vineville Avenue to Wimbish and Project number 8 is Forest Hill from Wimbish to Northside. We do have a draft environmental document approved on this project. We had a public hearing about two and a half years ago on this project. Back in March we submitted our final document which we refer to as a FONSI, a Finding of No Significant Impact, to the Federal Highway Administration. They just did return that document to us in September with some minor comments. We addressed those comments and sent it back this past Tuesday, and we are waiting for approval from Federal Highway so we can go ahead and buy right-of-way on that project. Hopefully we can start that by the first of next year. We really don't have much control over the schedule of the Federal Highway Administration, but we are ready to go as soon as they are.
Projects 10 and 11, Northwest Parkway and the north section of Log Cabin Drive, which would be from Mercer University up to Hollingsworth Road, that's in the same boat as the projects I just mentioned. We are currently revising the environmental document with comments we received from the Department of Transportation.
Project 14, Mercer University Drive. That's the section of Mercer University from Log Cabin out to 475. This is a Department of Transportation project, and it's going to be reconstructed to include a raised median and sidewalks on each side. We are just now finishing up the right-of-way on that project and it is scheduled for a February letting this year so there should be construction starting out there.
Project 15, which is the Zebulon Road Interchange. That's going to replace the bridge at Zebulon Road over 475 down to Lake Wildwood entrance. This project is currently in right-of-way and it's also scheduled for a February letting. And that would put several additional lanes and turn lanes at that intersection. It will signalize both Interstate ramps. And it will also relocate Lamar Road that's on the east side of the highway back to the new fire station. If you're familiar with that area out there, it'll be behind the Post Office that's out there. So that will really change that area a little bit.
If anybody has been out there they'll notice that the new Wal-Mart is building out there which the structure is already up on that. When that store opens the traffic is going to heavily increase out there so we want to see if we can get this at least close to being finished by the time it opens.
Let's see. Tucker Road, Project 23. This is Tucker Road from Foster Road up to Forsyth Road. Our right-of-way is just about complete on that project and we are working on the last two to three parcels. And we should be ready to let this road just shortly. As you know, this is the project that has the multi-use path on one side of the roadway. And that's something we're just about to finish up.
And Project 36, Houston Avenue, as you know Houston Avenue is a very long project. We split that into four different sections. We are preparing to let one section. It will probably be in the next I'd say about two months we will be ready to open bids on that project. The first section we're going to work on is the section from Rocky Creek north to Newberg Avenue. And that's the section where Fincher's Barbecue is. And the elementary school is there. I think that's right, that's Bruce that's there.
MR. DUNWODY: It's Bruce.
MR. JOHNSON: And let's see, the last big project that we're working on is the Sardis Church Road Connector project and this also includes a new interchange at I-75. This is also being held up because of the environmental document. This document has been at the Federal Highway Administration since July 18th, and we have not heard anything from them. But once that document is released, we should be ready to go to right-of-way after that. And it's scheduled for construction in the year 2008, so we still have several years on that project before construction is going to begin.
That's pretty much our major projects under design right now and in the environmental stage. If there's any questions or if there's something I missed, I'd be happy to answer. (Hand raised). Yes, sir.
MR. FISCHER: Are there any modifications to the design of Forest Hill Road? As you know, that's one of the more controversial projects and most of the people in the neighborhoods affected by that are greatly opposed to what they think is some over-design and a much wider cross-section than necessary to an existing neighborhood, particularly that lower part between Wimbish and Vineville.
MR. JOHNSON: Yes, sir. There has been some design modifications since the design was brought out to the public two and a half years ago. Most notably with the typical section we're talking about we really did not reduce the amount of lanes. We did take some of the width out of those lanes. We're now going from our standard 12-foot lane down to 11-foot lanes. You're talking about four lanes so that's about four feet. It's not a huge impact but it is a little bit there.
We are also committed to putting the utilities underground. That will save a lot of the tree canopy that's currently off the right-of-way. Usually when we widen a road we don't affect too far outside of the existing right-of-way. But when the power or telephone company comes along and puts their new poles, they do cut a large swath in the existing vegetation. That's something that we hope will be avoided by putting the utilities underground. We've also committed to putting some pedestrian scale lighting in the area and some heavy landscaping in some of the barren areas that will be opened up in that area.
Let me see what else we've looked at. We've also made a decision about Overlook Avenue and The Prado, about how we're going to treat those intersections. There was a lot of concerns from the neighborhoods behind there about closing those. They will be left open but they will be right turn only. You will not be able to take a left turn out of them but you will be able to take a right turn in and a right turn out.
So those are some of the major items that we've addressed from the public comments.
MR. FISCHER: I think that the underground utilities is a major step forward. I think you're absolutely right, that really magnifies the impact. Are the residents getting a chance to see that because I should think most of the revisions would be positive.
MR. JOHNSON: There has not been an official forum where we've actually presented them to the neighborhood. I have had several people call me or come by the office, and of course in meetings like this people have looked at them. I've gotten mixed reactions. Some people are still against the project in some areas. But you're right, underground utilities is a big commitment by Bibb County to do. It's going to be relatively expensive but it's something that's really going to help that project out.
MR. FISCHER: And it's --
MR. DUNWODY: On Overlook and The Prado there are going to be right turns out of those streets?
MR. JOHNSON: Yes, sir.
MR. DUNWODY: And into those streets?
MR. JOHNSON: Yes, sir.
MR. DUNWODY: No left turns either way?
MR. JOHNSON: That's correct.
MR. ETHERIDGE: The underground utility costs is probably going to be in the neighborhood of 800,000 to a million dollars, and the County is going to have to come up with that.
MR. FISCHER: I think that's money well spent when we're talking about a mature neighborhood where the impact is so dramatic. I personally strongly support that. I think it makes for a dramatically better project and does minimize the impact.
MR. ETHERIDGE: Of course, you know, one of the biggest compromises that's been done on the project is to three-lane the section from Wimbish out to Northside.
MR. FISCHER: Absolutely.
MR. ETHERIDGE: That was originally a four-lane section also, and that has been compromised back to a three-lane section.
MR. FISCHER: Yeah.
MR. DUNWODY: If you drive out that way, you know it needs to be four lanes.
MR. ETHERIDGE: You're right.
MR. DUNWODY: It won't be very far in the future you'll need another lane.
MR. FISCHER: I think the biggest problem is you need to accommodate some of the intersections, especially by Lane. Will there be a light at Lane, at the drive in to Lane Elementary.
MR. JOHNSON: At the drive into McKibben Lane there's not one. They are setting up turn lanes at that intersection so it will be relatively easy to put a traffic signal in there. The only traffic signal on that portion of the project will be at Old Lundy and Lokchopee. There will be a traffic signal installed there.
MR. FISCHER: I do think that's where you get the biggest conflict that slows things down if there's traffic, especially during school hours.
MR. JOHNSON: Those are, I don't know the exact name of the street that's right next to McKibben Lane but we are lining that up with the street across the street. There's a slight offset now.
MR. FISCHER: Yeah.
MR. JOHNSON: We'll be lining those up across from each other which will make the movements much safer and much more efficient than they are now.
MR. DUNWODY: How about the intersection of, is it Northminster that comes in down there? It's a bad intersection where Forest Hill and --
MR. JOHNSON: Yes, sir. We'll address that in two different ways. One, right now Wimbish comes into Forest Hill at such a skewed angle that it's kind of hard to see back over your shoulder to the right. We're going to relocate Wimbish so it ties into Forest Hill a little more at 90 degrees. And we're going to slightly pull back Northminster so it also ties into Wimbish a little more at 90 degrees. That will give you much better sight distance than you have now. You'll have several hundred feet in each direction that you'll be able to see, which is something you do not have now.
MR. DUNWODY: That's sort of a suicide intersection there now.
MR. JOHNSON: Yes, sir. If there's no more questions, that completes my report.
MR. DUNWODY: Does anyone have anymore questions or comments? Thank you, Joe. Appreciate that.
Do we have any comments from the audience? How about any old business? Have we got any old business?
MR. FISCHER: I think that the County misunderstood our resolution that we sent to them last week. The response from Tommy Olmstead seemed to think we were complaining about Northside. We were really using Northside as an example and suggesting a policy change. I'd suggest that we clarify what our intent was for that. I'd be more than happy to draft something up if you'd like. I think it's just a misunderstanding.
MR. DUNWODY: His remarks back were considerably, I mean you're right, they were confined to Northside.
MR. FISCHER: And I think he must have thought that we were complaining about Northside and we weren't. We were just using it as an example.
MR. DUNWODY: Well, we were but at the same time we were --
MR. FISCHER: Well, we were really using it as an example of things that could be done in the future to avoid those type of problems. I'd suggest that we clarify what our intent was. And as I say, I'd be happy to draft something for your signature if you'd like.
MR. DUNWODY: Anybody want to comment on that?
MR. SHEPARD: I concur with that. I think, too, I think he thought we were complaining about it specifically.
MR. DUNWODY: Right.
MR. FISCHER: And that wasn't our intent at all.
MR. DUNWODY: Right. The intent was to get it straight in the future.
MR. FISCHER: Yeah.
MR. DUNWODY: That would be good if you would draft something up.
MR. FISCHER: I'd be more than happy to. And then should I send it to Moreland Altobelli?
MR. DUNWODY: Right. Get it to Van.
MR. DUVAL: Get it to us and we'll distribute it.
MR. FISCHER: Okay. I'll get that done shortly.
MR. DUNWODY: You're going to draft us up something?
MR. FISCHER: I'll draft something up. All I'm going to do is clarify what our intent was, you know, clarify that.
MR. DUNWODY: Do we have any new business to come up that we need to deal with? Our next meeting date, has anybody set that yet? Steve?
MS. FORD: The 22nd of January.
MR. DUVAL: Yes, sir. It's the 22nd of January.
MR. DUNWODY: All right.
MR. DUVAL: Next year.
MR. ETHERIDGE: I have one correction, too, Mr. Chairman. The Technical Advisory Committee is going to meet on November the 13th instead of the 6th at 2 O'clock due to some conflicts.
MR. DUNWODY: Do we have any public meetings coming up anytime within the next 30 days or so?
MR. DUVAL: No. We're still waiting on Planning and Zoning to give us something on the South Downtown Connector. Isn't that right, Van?
MR. ETHERIDGE: That's right.
MR. DUVAL: We'll set a date whenever they get through with their study I guess. We'll set that meeting back up. But that's the only one, but we don't have a date on it yet. I'll let you know. I'll get in touch with the committee if anything comes up between now and next week.
MR. DUNWODY: If there's no other business then we stand adjourned.
CERTIFICATE OF REPORTER
STATE OF GEORGIA
COUNTY OF MONROE.
I hereby certify that the within and foregoing record is a true, complete and correct transcript of the proceeding taken by me on the 16th day of October, 2003.
This 18th day of October, 2003.
PATRICIA C. USSERY, CCR
Certificate No. B-1238
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