Delayed work resumes on bypass project
by Sarah Fay Campbell
In late July, frustrated with the lack of progress on finishing the Hwy. 34 Bypass widening project, the Newnan City Council sent a formal request to the Georgia Department of Transportation asking that the project’s contractor be placed in default.
If the contractor, Sunbelt Structures, is placed in default, performance bond money can be accessed in order to get another contractor to finish the project, which opened to traffic in October 2012.
In the past few weeks, crews from Sunbelt have been working to finish the extensive “punch list” of items on the project.
On Friday, crews from a signal company worked on the traffic signal at the Bypass and U.S. 29. Several motorists have noticed that, at times, the signal skips a green cycle.
On Thursday, crews from Sunbelt trimmed the concrete medians west of Hospital Road.
According to the “punch list,” several of the concrete medians do not meet the standard for the “curb face details.” Some of the handicapped ramps do not meet specifications, and some retaining walls need repairs. Some handrails on the retaining walls are rusting, some guardrails are damaged and some sidewalks are cracked. New paint is needed for some of the bike lanes, other permanent striping needs to be completed, several conduits and cables are exposed, some locations are holding water after rains, and right-of-way markers need to be installed.
Some of the other punch list items are things such as cleaning out drains and ditches, mowing grass, cleaning sidewalks, removing debris, removing temporary erosion control devices, and having grass meet specifications.
Before the project can be declared finished, all the traffic signals will have to go through a “30 day burn” without any problems or malfunctions.
“Our staff have met and continue to meet with the contractor, strongly encouraging the completion of the final punch list,” said Kimberly Larson, regional spokeswoman for GDOT. “I have no drop dead final date.”
Though the remaining work likely doesn’t impact the average motorist, the final completion of the project will. Once everything is completed, GDOT will take over the road and will likely raise the speed on at least part of the Bypass. Currently, the speed limit is 45 mph for the entire length of the project, from Bullsboro Drive to Carrollton Highway/Ga. Hwy. 16 West.
There is also the possibility that GDOT might stripe over the dual left turn lane onto Hospital Road, making it a single lane. With a single lane, motorists will be able to turn left on green if the traffic is clear, and won’t have to wait for a green arrow.