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Weather delaying new safety facilities
State patrol, city projects held up by rain
The new headquarters for the Gainesville post of the Georgia State Patrol is virtually finished, but it could be spring before it is occupied because of days of rain. - photo by Tom Reed

The new headquarters for the Georgia State Patrol Post 6 on Cleveland Highway is nearly complete. Now if it would only stop raining so much, troopers could start using it.

Near-record rainfall in 2009 has held up a pair of building projects for local public safety facilities, with the State Patrol post and the new Gainesville Public Safety Facility on Queen City Parkway both likely to be completed later than planned.

State Patrol Post Commander Sgt. Dean Allen said the new 12,000-square-foot building is about 95 percent complete, but the wet ground has prevented contractors from grading and laying down asphalt.

“The rain has really held them up,” Allen said. “We’re just waiting until we get the break we need, which is around two weeks of dry weather.”

With the way this historically wet winter is going, and with the limited availability of asphalt in colder months, it could be March before the final touches are made.

“We understand nobody can control the weather, so we’ll just wait until (the ground) dries, because the building will be sitting there ready,” said Allen, whose troops have been working out of temporary trailers since October 2008.

At the site of Gainesville’s Public Safety Facility, 60 inches of rain have fallen since the March groundbreaking for the $20 million facility.

Project manager Barclay Fouts said in an especially wet December, workers were averaging just 3½ work days a week. Fouts estimated the project is about 30 days behind its originally targeted June completion date.

“Our hope is we may have a chance to make some time up in the spring, if things dry up,” Fouts said.

Fouts said it won’t be much longer before a roof is up on the public safety building.

“Once it’s dried-in, the weather will affect us less,” he said.

Gainesville’s new facility is being paid for through a 1-cent sales tax approved by voters last year. The new Georgia State Patrol post, with an estimated cost of $3 million, is being funded by Hall County through a 15-year bond issuance.