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City contracts engineers for first T-SPLOST projects
Include sidewalks, footbridge, Stillwell intersection improvements
W TSplost logo

Statesboro City Council approved contracts with two local engineering firms Wednesday for design and other work on five projects, including sidewalks, a footbridge and improvements to an industrial access street, to be paid for by the new transportation sales tax.

“Presented today for your consideration and approval are the first of multiple contracts for the design, bid and construction administration and professional services for T-SPLOST projects,” Public Works and Engineering Director Jason Boyles told the council. “We’re happy to finally get to this point,”

Under the Transportation Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax approved by Bulloch County voters last May, the city of Statesboro is projected to receive $20.6 million to $25.8 million over five years. The tax took effect in October, increasing total state and local sales taxes to 8 percent on nonexempt items.

Fees allowed in the engineering firms’ contracts total a little over $236,000, with additional hourly rates allowed for some services. But contractor bids for actual construction will be presented to the council later in the process.

More engineering contracts and construction bids on other projects are expected as the city staff executes the five-year program of T-SPLOST priorities already adopted by the mayor and council.

“We’ll be coming back continuously over the T-SPLOST program bringing these contracts,” Boyles said.

In addition to being a department head, Boyles is now also one of two interim assistant city managers. The other is Planning and Development Director Frank Neal, who addressed the council on several zoning requests. Mayor Jonathan McCollar and the council members present brought the 9 a.m. meeting, the year’s first, to a conclusion in one hour. All votes were 4-0, with District 1 Councilman Phil Boyum absent.

City Manager Randy Wetmore named Boyles and Neal to the assistant manager posts on an interim basis in December. Effective Tuesday, Wetmore’s required work weeks were reduced to 32 hours under a six-month contract ending May 31. The council approved that contract in November, and Wetmore then announced that he is retiring.

Public Works and Engineering Director Jason Boyles
Public Works and Engineering Director Jason Boyles

Cheshire’s role

Wednesday’s largest engineering contract was awarded to Maxwell-Reddick and Associates. For a base fee of $102,000, the firm is to engineer and oversee installation of sidewalks along East Main Street from Lester Road to Packinghouse Road and along Packinghouse Road from East Main to U.S. Highway 301 North. Maxwell-Reddick can charge additional, listed hourly fees for services related to acquiring right of way or easements.

A contractor recently completed a sidewalk extension from Lester Road to just east of the bypass. Expanding on that, the new “big project” totaling 1.3 miles of sidewalk will serve an area with several housing complexes and a lot of foot traffic, Boyles said.

Maxwell-Reddick was also awarded a $60,250 contract for professional services for roadway improvements to the intersection of Stillwell Street and South Zetterower Avenue and along Stillwell Street to Park Avenue.

For several years, city staff members have been working with Claude Howard Lumber on ways to improve “truck traffic patterns” to and from the company’s sawmill, Boyles said. The planned work on Stillwell addresses this problem, but the lumber company and the railroad own the right of way, he said.

Former Deputy City Manager Robert Cheshire, who left city employment in August to return to work with Maxwell-Reddick, signed the company’s written proposals in his new role as a private engineer.

“I’m excited that through the (request for proposals) process that Maxwell-Reddick demonstrated some clear expertise in these areas and that, fortunately, Robert Cheshire with Maxwell-Reddick has some of the experience in dealing with this particular intersection, in dealing with this area,” Boyles said.


Parker’s projects

Three smaller T-SPLOST-funded professional service contracts were awarded Wednesday to a different local firm, Parker Engineering, led by Wesley Parker.

For $34,435, Parker Engineering is to provide surveying, design and other services both for installation of sidewalk along Herty Drive and South Edgewood Drive and for installation of a pedestrian bridge on the trail within Edgewood Park.

When combined with planned sidewalk extension along Gentilly Drive, the Herty and Edgewood project will link the Georgia Southern University campus to the S&S Greenway Trail and points beyond it. Design of a crosswalk for Gentilly Road will also be part of this work, Boyles noted.

On a separate, $24,500 contract, Parker Engineering will handle similar services for installation of sidewalk along West Jones Avenue between South Main Street and Johnson Street, filling gaps in the existing sidewalk route.

On still another contract, with a $15,500 base price, Parker Engineering will guide installation of sidewalk along Gentilly Road from East Jones Avenue to Savannah Avenue.

During the city manager’s comments portion of the meeting, Wetmore said he saw the other city officials smiling during action on T-SPLOST contracts.

“You’re going to be smiling for about another four years because this is just the start, and I think once the construction actually starts, people will really start to notice that what they voted for will really make a huge improvement within the city of Statesboro,” he said.


Herald reporter Al Hackle may be reached at (912) 489-9458.

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