Flowery Branch will get a helping hand from Hall County to prepare for city road improvements.
City Manager Bill Andrew said Flowery Branch will use county engineers to create an index of city roads that are in need of improvement.
The index will prioritize the roads that are in the greatest need of repair so the city can create a long-term road maintenance plan.
"Right now the structure of our general fund budget does not allow for the road work that is needed," Andrew said. "What this will do will allow us to prioritize some projects over time so we can look at a five- to 10-year window and then slowly build up the road funds to get the high-priority projects done first."
Andrew said having an organized list of potential road work also could help the city get financial help.
"By having a very clear picture of what needs to be done, we can then approach some funding opportunities to have some work done through grant work or otherwise," Andrew said.
Flowery Branch will be responsible for covering the county’s labor and fuel expenses and will receive the services at cost.
Hall County Engineer Kevin McInturff said the county also will benefit from the arrangement. The county bids out its resurfacing work, so having more streets to resurface each time reduces the price per mile.
"When we bid out our next resurfacing projects, what we can do is add their resurfacing projects to that bid and they would just pay us for their share," McInturff said. "When we do that they just get a better price."
McInturff said Flowery Branch’s city streets will be added to the list of county streets that are inspected for damage such as cracks and drainage issues.
"We’ll go out and evaluate all of their city streets," McInturff said. "We do that on every county road as well once a year. We do what’s called the road ratings."
The process involves engineers driving the streets and taking notes that will be used to create the rating for each street.
"They drive the city streets, look at them closely, evaluate them, rate them, come back and then we’ll put the data into a road index for them," McInturff said. "We can make recommendations to Flowery Branch for capital improvement projects."
Flowery Branch is the first city to receive these services from the county, McInturff said.
"We think it’s a great opportunity," Andrew said. "It just fits in with all the other work we’re trying to do to improve transportation in the area."