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Cities team up on paving projects
Oakwood, Lula, Flowery Branch to focus on resurfacing in spring
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Oakwood will be joined by Flowery Branch and Lula in a potentially cost-saving resurfacing venture this spring.

“Hall County and Gainesville have a pretty robust program already, so this is really geared toward the smaller cities,” Oakwood City Manager Stan Brown said.

Oakwood has led the charge on the joint effort, which culminates with bid packages from prospective contractors due March 7 at Oakwood City Hall.

In general, the work for all three cities consists of milling, patching, overlaying and “full depth reclamation,” a process of using asphalt already in place as part of repaving.

Oakwood has .85 mile planned as part of the effort, Flowery Branch has 2.19 miles and Lula, 1.19 miles.

Plans call for a decision to be made on the contractor at the March 11 Oakwood City Council meeting.

“Within about 10-15 days after that, we hope to issue a notice to proceed,” Brown said.

The hope then is that all the work will be done by June 30.

This is the second year Oakwood has led such an effort. Last year, it was joined by Clermont, Lula and Braselton.

“I think we were the biggest beneficiary of it ... not that we got a better deal than anyone else. We just had more money available to pave more streets,” Lula City Manager Dennis Bergin said. “We ended up doing everything we set out to do.”

Brown said in an earlier interview that last year’s efforts went “really well.”

“It eliminated all four cities having to put out separate contracts, and we were able to select a contractor that was able to perform the work,” he said. “They did a good job and were able to perform it in a timely manner.”

Cost savings are hard to judge because the cities never got a price for doing the work separately.

However, “it took what our project would have been, which was less than $200,000, and we ended up with something that was approaching $400,000 (for the four cities),” Brown said. “I felt like we had a good economy of scale there.”

Brown mentioned a second joint venture to members of the Hall County Joint Municipal Association at a meeting last fall in Buford.

Helping to fund the projects are the cities’ shares of the Georgia Department of Transportation’s Local Maintenance Improvement Grant. The state sets aside a portion of gas tax receipts to pay for the program, with this year’s amount set at about $110 million.

As a newcomer to the joint venture, Flowery Branch is putting forth not only the most miles of work, but the longest list — 12 streets, compared to Lula’s four and Oakwood’s two.

The city has been working to launch a more aggressive road improvement program, as well as one for storm water projects, through current and projected revenues.

“This is especially true once the (local option sales tax) negotiations are settled with Hall County,” Flowery Branch City Manager Bill Andrew said.

Concerning the joint paving venture, Andrew said, “Generally, we believe there will a savings because the winning bidder will be able to save on mobilization costs. And by bidding on a larger project with the three cities, we will achieve some economy of scale with the contractor.”

Because the city is “just beginning an annual schedule, then the 2.19 miles we have for this year is probably more representative of what we will need to be programming for the next few years to catch up,” Andrew said.
With about 26 miles of road in the city limits and 17 years as the average life of a road, Flowery Branch would need to pave about 1.53 miles per year, he added.

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