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Added $2.2M state grant boosts Bulloch road resurfacing budget over $6.5M
Burkhalter biggest new project; Old Portal Road and Mud Road among those already slated for repaving
Brad Deal
County Engineer Brad Deal, shown above, detailed the county's plan to use $6.6 million in state and local funding to resurface roads in Bulloch County.

Bulloch County is accepting an additional $2.22 million Georgia Department of Transportation grant that will expand the county government’s 2024 road resurfacing program to almost $6.6 million in state and local funding, expected to resurface 12 paved road segments totaling 23.52 miles.

Also included in the grand total is $502,457 for crack sealing, patching and chip seal application at “various locations” on roads throughout the county.

“So, if you combine all that together, it’s going to be more like about 50 miles,” said County Engineer Brad Deal.

The longest stretch of road to be completely resurfaced will be Burkhalter Road, from Georgia Highway 24 for 7.39 miles to U.S. Highway 80. That project alone carries an expected cost of almost $2.05 million.

“If any of you all have traveled that road, you probably know why we’re trying to add it to the list,” Deal told the county Board of Commissioners and their audience Tuesday evening, June 4.

As he explained, the new $2.22 million grant is from a special state fund, similar to but separate from the Local Maintenance and Improvement Grant, or LMIG, money the county receives annually through the Department of Transportation. With what was originally a surplus from state motor fuel taxes, Gov. Brian Kemp and the Legislature made $250 million more available to Georgia cities and counties this year in a program called simply Local Road Assistance, or LRA.

One major difference is that LRA grants are 100% state funding, requiring no local matching funds, unlike regular LMIG awards, which require at least a 30% local match. But Bulloch County usually exceeds the required match anyway, through the use of Transportation Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax money to supplement LMIG, and will also be using some T-SPLOST funds in the mostly LRA-funded projects.

Officially, what Deal was requesting from the commissioners was approval to submit an application to the Georgia DOT for the Local Road Assistance funding. But really, the $2.22 million has already been allocated to the  county.

“The only thing we have to do is send the application and tell them what we’re using it for,” he said. “That’s really the only strings attached to it, as long as it’s … maintenance or improvements to public roads.”

Commissioners Chairman Roy Thompson said this was an easy  request for the commissioners “to make a motion to accept this 2 million-plus dollars.”

Commissioner Ray Mosley said, “So moved, Mr. Chairman,” and more than one commissioner said, “Second.” The vote was 6-0.

Together with the Burkhalter Road resurfacing, just one smaller project, resurfacing 0.63-mile Leefield Station Road from to Old Leefield Road to its end, is expected to use up the LRA money and about $84,500 in local T-SPLOST cash. The Leefield Station Road cost projection of roughly $256,000 and the Burkhalter Road cost projection add up to more than $2.3 million, and the reported LRA grant dollar amount is $2,220,281.

The length of the two LRA-fund road resurfacing segments adds up to 8.02 miles.

But earlier this year, Bulloch County was allocated $1,792,651 in regular annual LMIG funds. The county’s Engineering Department planned to overmatch this – more than 100% – with T-SPLOST revenue, for 15.5 miles of resurfacing on 10 different roads. The total estimated cost of these projects, and also including the $502,457 for sealing and patching, is $4.29 million.


Old Portal, Mud Roads

The longest road section already slated for resurfacing from LMIG and T-SPLOST funds is Old Portal Road, for 5.1 miles from Old Dill Road to the Portal city limits at an estimated cost of almost $1.2 million. The next longest and next-most expensive is Mud Road, for 3.81 miles from Georgia Highway 119 to U.S. Highway 80, at an estimated cost of over $880,000. Next is Friendship Church Road, for 2.91 miles from Williams Road to U.S. Highway 80, estimated to cost more than $700,000.


Shorter segments

Other segments slated for resurfacing – at estimated costs ranging from more than $356,000 down to $14,540 – are Billy Mikell Road, Sweetheart Lane and connected lanes totaling 1.24 miles from Georgia Highway 24 to their ends; Talons Lake Road from Harville Road to Langston Chapel Road, 0.65 mile; East Village and Ansley Lane, totaling 0.84 mile, from Langston Chapel Road to their end; Summer Wind Place from its end to Old Leefield Road, 0.51 mile; Creekside Cove, 0.26 mile from its end to Maria Sorrell Road; Cayla Way, to its end from Burkhalter Road, just 0.09 mile; and Caytlyn Lane, to its end from Burkhalter Road, just 0.08 mile.

Ash Branch Church Road, Francis Scott Road and Timber Ridge Road are listed as “add alternates” if actual costs of other projects allow more resurfacing.

Expected nearest-dollar funding amounts in the 2024 road resurfacing program include a few cents over $1,792,651 from LMIG, $2,220,281 from LRA, and $2,584,563 in local funding from T-SPLOST, for a rounded total of $6,597,496.

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