Lower Cartecay Bridge gains priority in state replacement program

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ELLIJAY, Ga. – The Gilmer County Board of Commissioners Chairman Charlie Paris officially announced at the May BOC meeting that he received word that the State DOT (Department of Transportation) program replacing bridges across the state will move the Lower Cartecay Road bridge further up the list.

Originally, the commissioners were seeking to swap places of the Vanilla Lane Bridge, which was third on the list, and the Lower Cartecay Road bridge, which has only been added since last year. However, Paris commented on Thursday, May 10, that the bridge is set to move up the list. Though he didn’t know for sure exactly how it would work, he did say, “Right now, what it looks like is that the Lower Cartecay will be moved to the top of the list, but Vanilla Lane will continue at number four.”

Paris told those at the meeting that he had contacted Georgia Speaker of the House David Ralston about interceding on the county’s behalf to get the bridge added to the list. He stated the Speaker’s help in the county’s sudden need was integral to the process that has now seen the bridge added to the list and moved to a priority position.

Having received a Memorandum of Understanding from the DOT for Vanilla Lane, the commissioners discovered that while they were originally estimating their half of the costs of obtaining the right of way to be somewhere around $15,000 to $20,000, the official estimation of the total costs according to the memorandum would be $207,000 bringing Gilmer’s half to $103,500.

Now the county will be looking at another memorandum in the coming weeks for the Lower Cartecay Road bridge since it has been moved up. Aside from the movement of Lower Cartecay, Paris recommended the Board move forward with sending the $103,500 to the DOT for Vanilla Lane to keep it from being dropped from the list.

As the county moves forward with both bridges it will be awaiting news on both sides as they find out if Vanilla Lane does maintain its position on the list and the progress of site visits and preliminary work on Lower Cartecay Road.

Officially approved by unanimous decision, Paris stated the excess expense will be funded out of the capital contingency fund as the expense was larger than expected.

Previously, during budget sessions last year, the members of the board discussed dedicating their entire capital contingency to be saved for replacing Lower Cartecay Road bridge if it was unable to be added to the programs list. It was stipulated as a “back-up plan” to ensure the funding would at least begin the process of saving for the replacement while the commissioners were hoping to add the bridge to the DOT program.

Now, with the bridge not only added but moved up the list, the contingency fund appears as if it will be used to fuel both bridges at a substantially lower cost. Paris stated in the meeting that with the original estimate the board received on the Lower Cartecay bridge replacement rising past $1,250,000, any “reasonable figure” the DOT provides for the costs of right-of-way would be a vast improvement worth supporting.

Additionally, if the county had not gotten onto the list with Lower Cartecay, they would have been saving their entire contingency funds for at least 2018 and 2019 pushing back the project to begin, at the earliest, in 2020. Now, this program places the Lower Cartecay bridge at the number one slot. Even with the late start, the project will begin its process with engineering and architecture this year. Citizens could potentially see construction beginning as early as next year.

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Lower Cartecay bridge approved for Department of Transportation replacement

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ELLIJAY, Ga. – It has been several months since Gilmer County’s budget session where the Board of Commissioners set aside contingency funds in their capital budget with the idea that they would not be there this year unless they could find funding to replace the Lower Cartecay Road bridge.

Good news came during the county commissioners meeting when Chairman Charlie Paris officially announced that Gilmer County has been accepted into the Georgia Department of Transportation (DOT) program it has been applying for. This means that the DOT will come and replace the bridge along with numerous others across the state.

The original estimate that Gilmer received to replace the bridge was $1.2 million. With this program, Gilmer will be responsible for pairing 50 percent of the costs to obtain additional rights of way, which is a “minimal cost” as Paris stated in relation to the original estimate.

Post 2 Commissioner Travis Crouch asked if the county could do any preliminary work to fast track the project. Gilmer will be in contact with the DOT to see if they can prepare any work ahead of time.

The one “catch” in this approval is that it will fall into the state’s schedule, meaning it still could be some time before Gilmer sees the bridge replaced.

This is actually the second bridge the county will have on the program as the bridge near Turniptown on Vanilla Lane has previously been approved some time ago. The commissioners discussed flipping their priority for the two bridges in effort to move Lower Cartecay up the list to an earlier replacement.

Chairman Paris spoke with FetchYourNews privately about the issue saying that if we had not gotten into the program, we still wouldn’t be able to begin replacing it this year due to our budget. We would still need over $700,000 next year just to begin the project.

Speaking on the relief he feels the approval gives Gilmer, Paris stated, “It’s a pretty big impact for us, and it will impact us for several years.”

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Lower Cartecay Road Bridge Closed

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FYN has been informed of a Georgia DOT (Department of Transportation) inspection on the bridge on Lower Cartecay Road that has deemed it “Unsafe.”

Due to this, FYN has confirmed with Commission Chairman Paris that the bridge is closed at this time to public use. Authorities will be attempting to further inspect the bridge to see if it is possible for repairs, or if a full replacement is necessary.

As for the closing of the bridge, Chairman Paris expects it will be weeks before it could be open due to the current condition.

Paris assured FYN he would continue updates as decisions are made about the future of the bridge.

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Special Dedication to Mr. James Howard “Bud” Holloway, Jr.

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A special dedication was held in honor of Mr. James Howard “Bud” Holloway Jr. on September 26th 2015.  Friends and family gathered to remember and honor the life and memory of Mr. Holloway.  See Senate Resolution 126 (PART XV) below:

WHEREAS, Mr. James Howard “Bud” Holloway, Jr., was born in Atlanta, Georgia, on July 313 2, 1932, the beloved son of James Howard Holloway, Sr., and Louise Walton Holloway; and

WHEREAS, he served as a guardian of this nation’s freedom and liberty with the United States Navy, valiantly and courageously defending his fellow citizens and upholding the ideals of America; and

WHEREAS, in 1967, Mr. Holloway became the owner of the Pink Pig, a BBQ restaurant in the community of Cherry Log; and

WHEREAS, a cherished member of the Cherry Log community, Mr. Holloway always had a gold dollar for the children dining at his restaurant and a funny story to tell his guests; and

WHEREAS, Mr. Holloway will long be remembered for his sense of humor and quick wit, and his political debates continue to be sorely missed by those who loved him; and

WHEREAS, it is abundantly fitting and proper that the extraordinary accomplishments of this distinguished Georgian be appropriately recognized by dedicating a bridge in his memory.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED AND ENACTED that the bridge on State Route 515 over Cherry Log Street in Gilmer County is dedicated as the J. H. “Bud” Holloway Memorial Bridge.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Clerk of the House of Representatives is authorized and directed to make appropriate copies of this resolution available for distribution to the Department of Transportation and the family of  Mr. James Howard “Bud” Holloway, Jr.

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