Plans unveiled for Pylant/16 intersection

by Sarah Fay Campbell

The intersection of Ga. Hwy. 16 and Pylant Street will become a park-like entrance to the city of Senoia, under a concept plan approved Monday by the Senoia City Council.

The city has received state safety funding to improve the intersection. Pylant Street currently comes into Hwy. 16 at an acute angle with limited sight distance, and the intersection is considered dangerous.

"What we are proposing to do is put in a left-turn lane and decel lanes, and make it come together at a right angle," said City Administrator Richard Ferry, "as well as significantly change the general area."

Pylant Street will be realigned just past the bridge. There will be a "sweeping curve" that will come into Hwy. 16 at a right angle.

A portion of the old roadbed will become a parking lot with 10 spaces, for those visiting Marimac Lakes Park. The city-owned property that is currently a triangle between the two roads will be landscaped, with signage.

The city owns most of the land needed for the project. There may be a bit of right-of-way needed on the other side of Hwy. 16, but that won't be known until serious engineering gets under way.

The approved concept will require the replacement of the existing bridge, with a new bridge or possibly a culvert.

"We need to find out whether this bridge is going to be considered historic," Ferry said, which could add extra work. There are no utilities conflicts with the approved concept.

The second concept would require the relocation of two sewer lines and would put the road fairly close to a home, but wouldn't require the bridge replacement. It would require Pylant to intersect Hwy. 16 directly across from the Senoia Library. There would be a four-way stop at the library.

The second concept would also "require a significant amount of fill" dirt.

Redoing the gravity sewer main would be extremely difficult, said Senoia Mayor Robert Belisle. "You cannot realistically put them that deep… maintenance would be a nightmare," said Belisle.

The bridge replacement might be expensive but compared to the cost of the fill and the relocation of the lines, "we could be looking at a wash," Ferry said.

The next step in the project will be the concept report. Then there will be engineering, with right-of-way acquisition in 2015, and construction expected to begin in 2016.

In other meeting business:

• The council voted to raise the water and sewer deposit from $50 for homeowners and $125 for renters to $75 for homeowners and $150 for renters.

The average bill is now more than $70, Ferry said. Ferry recommended that the city do away with the two-tiered approach and charge everybody $150. They could find no evidence that "there may be more renters not paying their water bills and leaving the city," Ferry said.

Belisle made a motion to go with the $75 and $150 deposits. "I firmly believe there is an inherent risk with renters," he said.

• The council voted to charge a 3 percent convenience fee for all credit card transactions.

• The council approved the purchase of two new in-car cameras for the Senoia Police Department, to replace two older cameras that are becoming problematic to maintain.

• The council approved the second reading of the 2014 budget. The total budget is $4,334,800, up 8.49 percent over last year.

Most of that increase is due to personnel costs, Ferry said.

• The council went into closed session to discuss real estate. After they returned to open session, Belisle made a motion to proceed with an engineering study on "the property we discussed in executive session to determine the drainage issues, at an approximate cost of $11,000." The motion was approved unanimously.

• Crystal Boudreaux gave the Downtown Development Authority update.

The "Christmas on Main" event was very well attended. "The stores reported very big crowds and brisk sales," she said.

"We plan to make it an annual event." Light Up Senoia and the Candlelight Tour of Homes were also very successful. She added that the DDA donated $1,000 to the Senoia Historical Society's "raise the roof" fund for a new roof at the society's headquarters and museum.

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