By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Corps gets federal money for paving
$1.9 million to go to Old Federal, Bald Ridge, Bolding Mill and Duckett Mill
Placeholder Image

Lake Lanier is the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ national experiment in transportation funding.

The corps has received, for the first time, federal road dollars — as part of a 2012 spending bill — and chosen to test them out in the South Atlantic Division based on several factors, including project needs, visitation numbers and economic impact.

“You have to be a high performer in accordance with those guidelines, and Lake Lanier, being a metro lake, meets those criteria,” said Ryan Hartwig, recreation program manager for the Atlanta-based South Atlantic Division.

Lanier is getting nearly $1.9 million, which the corps plans to use for paving at Old Federal campground and day-use area and at Bald Ridge, Bolding Mill and Duckett Mill campgrounds, said Timothy A. Rainey, operations project manager at Lake Lanier.

Other projects in the South Atlantic Division are getting funding in the $300,000 to $500,000 range, Hartwig said.
The corps is hoping for good results with the money.

“That’s why we focused on Lanier, just because the proof (is) in the pudding,” Hartwig said. “High exposure should (result in) a good product. We’ll see how this competes out in future years.”

The money is coming from the Federal Lands Transportation Program, which is providing some $300 million for projects to improve access on federal lands. The program is part of the federal Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act, the government’s 27-month transportation spending bill passed in July 2012 by Congress.

The National Park Service and U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service are designated to receive $270 million for ongoing programs. The remaining $30 million was split between the corps and the Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Forest Service, which also are getting federal transportation funding for the first time.

“As long as (transportation bills) keep getting authorized, how we do on this pilot will determine how we compete (in the future),” Hartwig said.

Rainey said he was “very pleased” to learn about the extra funding.

“This has been kind of a difficult process to go through,” he said.

In a previous interview, Rainey said, “Since this is new to us, we have to start from scratch in regards to collecting and providing the proper inventory data and condition assessments that (the Office of) Federal Lands Highway is looking for,” he said.

The paving projects will take place during the parks’ offseason.

“The campgrounds are closing now and we’re working on a contractor to get (the work) done,” Rainey said, adding the corps is “doing site work to get the areas ready.”

Speaking at the Lake Lanier Association’s annual membership meeting in June, Rainey talked about public perception concerns if Lake Lanier got the money. Because of budget issues, the corps limited hours of operation this year at Duckett Mill, Bolding Mill, Sawnee and Van Pugh South parks.