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Fitzgerald, Georgia 31750

Published September 2, 2016
County Transportation Updates
Oriole Road Crossing

The Road Department completed leveling the approaches to the Dave Bishop, Sr. railroad crossing in late July. It is now paved and ready for CSX to begin their work.

The Road Department added 3,000 cubic yards of fill dirt to the southern side of the Pine Level Church railroad crossing, and drainage work is being done on the north side. It was paved on August 23rd and is ready for CSX to begin their work.

The CSX and Xorail surveys at the two crossing sites have been completed and the crossing signal designs are underway. They planned to do the installations concurrently with the railroad wayside signal upgrades and mandated positive train control work that is scheduled for the first quarter of 2017. However, when the County reported having completed the approach work, the GA Department of Transportation (DOT) said they may issue CSX notices to proceed with the installation within the next 2-3 months.

This project is moving exceptionally fast, and we hope to see it completed well before April 2017. Once the signals are in place at the Dave Bishop Sr. and Pine Level Church Road Crossings, the County will close the Oriole Road Crossing and portions of its approaches. The County will then be eligible for DOT and CSX reimbursement funding to help offset our expenses.

2014 CDBG

The 2014 Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) street and storm drainage improvements project is nearly complete. This $500,000 grant project includes Moss Lane, Fern Court, Marble Lane, Sandstone Street, Fieldstone Court, and Bowen Road. All the drainage, base and driveway work is done; and the roads were paved with rock last week. The contractor will now complete the fine grading and prepare for final inspection. Anticipating rain delays, the County is requesting a 3-month grant extension to complete all the paperwork.

2017 LMIG Road Improvements

The County has issued bid documents for 4.536 miles of road resurfacing as part of the 2017 Local Maintenance and Improvement Grant (LMIG) Program. The roads include portions of Bethlehem Church Rd., Lower Rebecca Rd., Joshlyn Rd., Peter Coffee Rd., and Justice Ave. Bids are due by September 15th. We project this work being completed by the end of the year.

SR 11/US 129 Resurfacing

DOT has announced an October 2016 bid letting of a resurfacing project which will begin in Ocilla and end just north of Bush Ave. in Fitzgerald. This is the main route through town; which includes the Ocilla Highway, Sherman and Grant Streets, and a small southern portion of Bowens Mill Highway. We project the work might begin in late Spring or early Summer of 2017.

This project ties in with another resurfacing project which begins at Bush Ave. in Fitzgerald and runs north on SR 11/US 129/Bowens Mill Road to the Wilcox County line.

DOT has agreed to begin planning for a 2-foot addition to the existing paved shoulders along this route; making each paved shoulder 4-feet wide. This would provide a paved run-off area that can be used by vehicles, large agricultural equipment needing to allow traffic to pass, bicyclists and pedestrians. While the shoulder extensions will not qualify for designation as bike routes or sidewalks, it will make these roads much safer and user-friendly.

CSX Railroad Bridge over the Alapaha River

CSX is moving forward with its plans to build a new rail siding in the CSX Right-of-Way on the western side of the county. It will begin between the two Zinnia Road Crossings, and extend to Sylvester Road in Turner County. All the construction will be within the CSX Right-of-Way. This is part of the CSX plans to increase the length of passing sidings to handle longer trains.

CSX approached the County in June about closing the northern Zinnia Road Crossing; noting that trains parked on this siding might render the crossing impassible to vehicular traffic for extended periods of time. CSX offered the county several incentives; including cash compensation and an offer to improve the southern leg of Zinnia Road.

After studying the number of residents that would be impacted by a permanent closure of the northern Zinnia Road crossing, the county declined the CSX offers and opted to keep both Zinnia Road Crossings open. CSX notes that the low traffic count on both of the Zinnia Road Crossings will not justify the cost of adding gated signals at either crossing.

Construction of the new siding will include replacing the existing 43-span timber trestle railroad bridge over the Alapaha River; which is 428 feet long and nearing the end of its useful safe life.

The new railroad bridge will be a thirteen-span reinforced concrete bridge; 390- feet long; and founded on 30-inch diameter steel pipe piles.

The Jacksonville firm of STV is designing the replacement bridge. It is working with the Savannah District Corps of Engineers, the Georgia Environmental Protection Division, the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, and the US Fish & Wildlife Service to secure permits for construction of the project. The firm has provided the County a study that calculated the Base Flood Elevations, and determined that the proposed replacement will not increase the Base Flood Elevations for the Alapaha River in the vicinity of the bridge. They also provided the County a No-Rise Certification with the Hydraulic Study for the project.

A projected construction schedule is not yet available, but the County will share this information with the public when we get one.