Flowery Branch City Council meeting
What: Expected vote on Spring Street culvert construction
When: 5 p.m. Nov. 13
Where: City Hall, 5517 Main St., Flowery Branch
If all goes as planned, a road washed out during a 2013 flood may finally be repaired nearly two years later.
Spring Street’s culvert on Flowery Branch Creek failed during heavy flooding in May 2013. City officials had plans to replace the structure with a wooden bridge, with a legal notice published in June. Per that notice, the city expected to award the project on Aug. 7, but when all was said and done, the three bids that came in were all over the planned budget.
“The bids that we had were not really economically viable, and the timeline for the construction wasn’t going to be starting until maybe around January or February,” City Manager Bill Andrew said during a September council meeting. “Given those two factors, particularly the time frame, we were concerned that this structure now was no longer really viable to wait that long.”
To exacerbate the issue, a sudden rainstorm in early September further degraded the road, creating even more of an emergency scenario. Council members approved an abbreviated bidding process for a concrete culvert to get the road fixed as soon as possible.
Five bids were received from the emergency process, ranging from $405,000 all the way up to nearly $630,000.
“It is roughly around the range that we were thinking in,” City Planner John McHenry said. “We will be reviewing those and then we’re looking to take a recommendation to the council on our meeting on Nov. 13.”
According to information available on the city’s website, the five bids are as follows:
Lewis Contracting: $405,000
Georgia Concrete: $508,960
Simpson Trucking: $524,861.80
Sunbelt Structure: $600,447
ER Snell: $629,956
Officials had expected the initial bridge project to be around $350,000.
“Originally we had heard from a bridge contractor who had done work in Braselton that this location would be in the $350,000 range,” McHenry wrote via email. “He did not submit a bid for the bridge and the three bids we received were more than double this original estimate.”
McHenry said the anticipated timeline to complete the culvert project once council members approve a contractor should be around three to five months, so ideally the project could be complete by April or May 2015 at the latest.
“We would like to give (the approved contractor) the notice to proceed as soon as possible ... with the hopes that their scheduling will be able to get them out there immediately,” McHenry said.
The issue is expected to come up at the called 5 p.m. Nov. 13 meeting of the council, when councilors could vote to move forward with the project.
In the meantime, city officials keep their eyes on the skies in hopes that poor weather conditions don’t further degrade the road, with McHenry acknowledging the city is on “borrowed time.”
“It is currently working,” he said about the repairs currently in place to keep the road open. “The water is able to get underneath that road, and we have the road open. What we want to do, with the recognition we’re on borrowed time, is get the project built before we have a failure.
“I think the bottom line is that it’s something that needs to be fixed,” he added. “We’ve really been doing our due diligence to do the most cost-effective approach on this.”