By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Gainesville to plant trees to offset utility project
Placeholder Image

Gainesville is looking to plant 180 trees at three U.S. Army Corps of Engineers parks as part of an “environmental stewardship” effort tied to the Clarks Bridge replacement project.

The city is involved in moving utilities as part of the Georgia Department of Transportation’s bridge project on Ga. 284/Clarks Bridge Road at Lake Lanier, an effort that requires a permit from the corps to use its property.

“One of the requirements in the easement process is they determine environmental impacts,” said Matt Tarver of Gainesville’s Public Utilities Department.

The corps basically seeks a way for the government seeking the permit to “give back” to the environment in a measure that’s equal to the impact, said Jeff Emmert, chief ranger over natural resources and real estate.

“We’ve got a model that evaluates different factors, such as acreage and type of habitat that’s there now,” he said. “We just work with the party in coming up with what they have to do.”

The tree planting is a project “we knew we wanted do, and (the city) agreed to it,” Emmert said.

The work will take place at Old Federal Campground at 6219 Old Federal Road, Sardis Creek Day-Use Area at 2991 Antioch Church Road and Bolding Mill Campground at 4055 Chestatee Road, all in Hall County.

The planting could take place in late February or early March, Tarver said.

The city has put out a request for proposals in an effort to find a contractor to do the work, which is estimated to cost about $50,000, funded by the Public Utilities Department’s capital improvements fund.

The deadline for proposals is Dec. 19.

As for the types of trees, “we would want a variety of species native to this area,” Emmert said.

They could includes oaks, pines, maples and dogwoods.

DOT’s project calls for a bridge with 12-foot lanes and an 8-foot bike path in each direction, replacing the existing bridge, which was built in 1958 and doesn’t meet current design standards. It also involves construction of a new pedestrian tunnel under Ga. 284.

Crews will use a temporary bridge to move equipment, materials and staff to a barge, or working platform, in Lake Lanier for the $8.7 million project.

“The contractor isn’t planning on working this week due to (the rainy) forecast,” DOT district spokeswoman Teri Pope said Tuesday.

The overall completion date for the project is Dec. 31, 2015.

Regional events