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Gainesville tree-planting effort delayed till fall
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A Gainesville effort to plant 180 trees at three Army Corps of Engineers parks has been postponed because of a lack of interest by contractors.

“We only had one contractor attend a mandatory preproposal conference, so we were in a position where we were going to have to readvertise the project,” said Matt Tarver, project manager with Gainesville’s Public Utilities Department.

The corps and Tarver “ultimately decided that readvertising in January would cause the tree planting to be performed outside of ideal planting seasons.”

So, the further decision was made “to wait and do the project in the fall,” Tarver said.

Gainesville is looking to plant the trees as part of an “environmental stewardship” effort tied to the Clarks Bridge replacement project on Ga. 284/Clarks Bridge Road at Lake Lanier.

The city has been involved in moving utilities as part of the Department of Transportation project, an effort that required a permit from the corps, which governs Lanier, to use its property.

“One of the requirements in the easement process is they determine environmental impacts,” Tarver has said.

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.

“There have been no changes to the tree-planting project’s scope” as result of or since the delay in the planting contract, Tarver said.

The work is estimated to cost about $50,000, funded by the Public Utilities Department’s capital improvements fund.

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

They could include oaks, pines, maples and dogwoods.

In the bridge project, construction crews are working on the concrete caissons that will support the bridge, which is in the Chattahoochee River arm of Lanier.

The $8.7 million construction project, awarded to E.R. Snell Contractor Inc. of Snellville, calls for 12-foot lanes and an 8-foot shoulder in each direction.

Also planned is a new pedestrian tunnel under Ga. 284.

The old bridge, which was built in 1958, will be torn down once the new one, along with approaches and tunnel, are in place.

The project is set for completion by Dec. 31, 2015.

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