News Column

Athens-Clarke County Receives $500,000 Grant for Mitchell Bridge Road Widening from GTIB

May 30, 2014



ATHENS, Ga., May 30 -- The Athens-Clarke County Unified Government issued the following news release:

On Tuesday, May 28, Gov. Nathan Deal announced the approval of funding for 20 transportation infrastructure projects totaling $33 million in grants and loans provided through the Georgia Transportation Infrastructure Bank (GTIB). Athens-Clarke County was one of 18 governments and CIDs to receive GTIB grant and loan funding for nearly $100 million in total project value. This represents the largest funding cycle for the GTIB program since its inception. The GTIB program is a revolving infrastructure investment fund established in 2008 by Georgia legislators and administered by the State Road and Tollway Authority (SRTA).

Athens-Clarke County was awarded a grant of $502,026 for the Mitchell Bridge Road widening project. The project area is the two-lane Mitchell Bridge Road section between the Publix driveway and Athens West Parkway with approximately 10,000 vehicles per day driving along it. Based on current development trends, traffic volumes are expected to increase by 50% in the coming 15 years. The purpose of the project is to alleviate congestion by improving access to the existing businesses, improve the movement of through traffic along the corridor, and to accommodate increasing traffic volumes.

The Mitchell Bridge widening project will not only improve traffic movement, but also road quality, stormwater drainage, and pedestrian access. The project will widen this section of Mitchell Bridge Road to three lanes, with one lane in each direction and a center two-way left turn lane. In addition, the corridor will be converted to an urban section roadway with a curb and gutter. Drainage pipes will be added to accommodate the stormwater. Sidewalks will also be extended and/or constructed along the entire corridor. The project is expected to begin in October 2014 and take approximately 12 months to complete.

The $500,000 grant will supplement approximately $1.2 million already appropriated from the SPLOST 2005 program for this project. The current construction estimate for the project is approximately $1.7 million.

"The grant has allowed Transportation and Public Works to continue to move the project into the construction phase without appropriating additional funds away from other projects," says ACC Transportation and Public Works Department Director David Clark. "The project will greatly reduce the congestion consistently experienced along the corridor and the grant will allow us to begin construction of the improvements in October."

Community improvement districts (CIDs), as well as local and state government entities are eligible for GTIB grant and loan funding. Final approval is made by the SRTA Board, which is chaired by Deal.

"The GTIB program is an important resource for community improvement districts and local governments seeking supplemental funding needed to move vital transportation projects forward," Deal said. "The projects receiving awards will not only enhance mobility in local communities, they will also keep Georgia's business engine moving by improving access to retail and job centers throughout the state."

This year, a record number of governments and CIDs applied for funds to jumpstart or complete 58 new projects. Awardees included Athens-Clarke County, Atlanta, Bartow County, Braselton, Dunwoody, Flowery Branch, Gainesville, Grady County, Johns Creek, Newnan, Sandy Springs, Tyrone, and the Cumberland, Fulton Industrial Boulevard, Gwinnett Place, North Fulton, Red Top and Town Center Area CIDs.

"To date, the GTIB program has provided more than $50 million in funding to jumpstart or complete transportation projects with a total value of more than $200 million," said SRTA Executive Director Chris Tomlinson. "The increasing number of GTIB applicants illustrates the state's commitment to partner with local communities and advance much needed transportation infrastructure improvements. SRTA is proud to assist in speeding up these impactful projects."

Grant applications were ranked based on transportation/engineering merit; economic merit; local, state and federal matching funds; and project specifics, such as the project phase and feasibility. Loan applications are evaluated based on borrower type, project type and loan spend down/repayment abilities, in addition to the merits of the project itself.

For more information about the Georgia Transportation Infrastructure Bank (GTIB), visit www.georgiatolls.com/gtib. Photo of ACC Staff with Governor Deal (http://athensclarkecounty.com/gallery.aspx?PID=1635)

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