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Commissioners OK engineering contract for Islands Highway work
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Liberty County commissioners took the first step to making improvements to Islands Highway near Tradeport East.

Commissioners approved a contract with T.R. Long Engineering to provide the engineering services needed, such as design and concept plans, before work can begin.

The span of the contract is six years, and T.R. Long Engineering also be tasked with contract administration and construction observation once the plans turn into construction.

“This is one of the steps we need to do,” Chairman Donald Lovette said. “Without it, we can’t get it done.”

T.R. Long Engineering president Trent Long said his firm has been working a long time on getting its state Department of Transportation pre-qualifications completed.

Some of the work, such as historic and ecological surveys, will be subcontracted out. That work includes making surveys of the plant and animal life in the area during certain times of the year.

“If we want to be able to get federal funding,” Long said, “we have to jump through these hoops.”

Environmental studies the state DOT usually requires include a historic resources review, air and noise studies, ecology, archaeology, freshwater aquatic survey and an endangered species survey.

Long said his firm is updating its traffic study on the area and will be completing the geometry and surveying for the plans.

The total cost for Islands Highway improvements is expected to be around $25 million. Proceeds from the county’s transportation special local option sales tax are pegged to fund the engineering services up to construction. Construction costs are expected to be shared with fees charged to development in the area for roadway improvements.

The contract for Long’s engineering services is 2.07 million, and Long reduced the price because of traffic studies and surveys his firm already has completed.

Commissioners also approved a $1.2 million bid from Platinum Paving for repaving Bill Carter Road. The work will include widening and the money to do the work will come out of a combination of special purpose local option sales taxes, TSPLOST and local maintenance improvement grants.

Bill Carter Road is used often as a cut-through road, increasing the traffic on it, Long pointed out.

“This will make it safer and stronger,” Long said. “It will two have solid 12foot lanes. It will be set up to handle the traffic coming across it.

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