Though the fate of the Transportation Investment Act tax will not be determined by voters for another eight months, Liberty County officials are hard at work determining which projects would be funded if the tax passes at the polls.
During a Nov. 24 meeting, the Liberty County Board of Commissioners discussed possible projects to be funded by the county’s share of revenue generated from the 1 percent sales tax.
County engineer Trent Long presented maintenance projects to be considered for the list.
“They’re not based on any district; they’re basically based on maintenance level and need and things that we see in our daily management of the roads,” Long explained as he began the presentation.
“It’s basically a preliminary list. It’s a starting point for you guys to get started talking, and if you want to add to, subtract from, you’re more than welcome to do that.” The board did not consider new road paving or any roads or bridges that are on the current SPLOST list, County Administrator Joey Brown added. The maintenance list included resurfacing, safety improvements, intersection changes, and bridge replacements and improvements.
Long recommended drainage improvements, resurfacing, and curb and gutter installation for three Colonels Island roads — Cattle Hammock, Japonica and Camellia roads — to accommodate increased traffic to the coastal marinas. Long’s projected cost for the three roads was $1,575,000, though he added that all estimated prices needed to be fine-tuned.
He also included Patriots Trail, which is inside Flemington city limits, on the list for repair and resurfacing. Because each municipality within the county currently is planning its own list, Long said the road likely would be a joint project with the city of Flemington subject to its cooperation.
“Its main purpose is to service our park, James Brown Park,” Long explained. “It’s got some areas where the sub-grade is failing. … We’ve got to build it back up and get it where it’s passable.”
Long also recommended asphalt overlay and shoulder improvements to Rogers Pasture Road in Fleming because it has “a lot of hidden traffic” and serves the county’s recently constructed sewage transfer station. Savannah Sand Mine, which is located on the road, has agreed to assist in covering the repairs, he said.
Next, Long covered intersection improvements.
Long recommended adding two turning lanes to the intersection of Limerick Road and Highway 17, one left-turn lane on Highway 17 southbound and a right-turn lane from Limerick heading west.
“Right now, there’s a pile of traffic that comes off of Limerick Road, and a good portion of it is turning right — but we also have a large volume of traffic coming back from Savannah in the afternoon, and they’re trying to turn left,” Long said. “I feel like the right-turn lane is there for convenience, and the left-turn lane is there to save lives.”
When Long mentioned adding signalization at the entrance to Tradeport East Business Park on Highway 84 in Midway, Chairman John McIver chimed in.
McIver said that Midway Industrial Park, which is on Highway 84 between Interstate 95 and Highway 17, has much more traffic and suggested that it be given priority over Tradeport East.
Long also suggested bridge repair or reconstruction on Cattle Hammock Road for $480,000, on Tupelo Trail for $175,000, and Cay Creek Road over Cay Creek for $220,000 and over the Peacock Canal for $320,000.
The projections for bridges vary because some bridges must remain open to traffic during the construction, which requires more time and safety precautions, he explained.
Long also suggested replacing an existing box culvert under Holmestown Road at the Peacock Canal for an estimated $280,000.
The commissioners handed over their lists to Brown for compilation and staff consideration, and they will take up the matter in a future meeting.
As the Courier previously has reported, the tax is slated to appear on the July 2012 primary ballot. If it passes within the 10-county coastal region, the tax would generate an estimated $1.6 billion over 10 years.
Of that figure, 75 percent would go toward a recently determined list of projects with regional impacts, and 25 percent would be disbursed to municipalities and counties for transportation expenditures.
According to state predictions, Liberty County could expect to receive $12,305,250 for transportation projects not already included in the regional constrained list, which was adopted in September by the Coastal Regional Commission Regional Transportation Roundtable.
Other roads Long suggested:
• Shell Road near Riceboro, asphalt overlay and shoulder repair, estimated $490,000.
• Mobley Road in Gum Branch, asphalt overlay and shoulder repair, estimated $290,000.
• Dairy Road in Gum Branch, asphalt overlay and shoulder repair, estimated $350,000.