Some onsite work can at last be seen underway on Bulloch County’s previously stalled and revised, long delayed improvements to the Cypress Lake Road intersection of Veterans Memorial Parkway.
County Engineer Brad Deal had said last September that the work could be completed by March, but March passed with no construction. Now it’s mid-April, and a subcontractor arrived earlier this week and began boring under the roadways to create passages for the cables that will power and operate the new traffic signals, Deal said Thursday.
The steel poles with mast arms that had to be custom-ordered to fit the site still have not arrived, but are now slated for delivery to the contractor.
“The contractor had a lot of delays in getting the poles, but they do have them now en route, and they have actually been working out there this week,” Deal said. “What they’re doing now is putting the underground conduit and wiring in, so they’re boring underneath the bypass and also Cypress Lake Road.
Before the poles can be installed, the general contractor, Ellis Wood Contracting Inc., or a subcontractor will also need to build concrete foundations for them. Then the concrete will need to cure for 30 days, and by that time, the poles should have arrived, Deal hopes.
“I think with where we’re at now we’re probably tentatively looking at being finished with the project, end of July,” he said.
Traffic at this busy intersection on the parkway, Statesboro’s U.S. Highway 301 bypass, is currently controlled only by stop signs on the Cypress Lake Road approaches and a flashing red-and-yellow caution light. The planned improvements center on the installation of fully functional red-yellow-green traffic signals.
Ellis Wood’s original contract from September 2020, awarded on a lowest bid of $538,949, also covers paving work to widen Cypress Lake Road near the intersection, creating turn lanes. The Ellis Wood firm, a Statesboro-based paving contractor, hired Moye Electric Company, from Dublin, as subcontractor for the traffic signal installation.
A $149,846 change order, approved by the Bulloch County Board of Commissioners in September 2021, boosted Ellis Wood’s total contract price to $688,795 and added the redesigned traffic signal supports and underground wiring that make the project acceptable to Georgia Power.
The county had $715,000 budgeted for the project, including $350,000 from a Local Maintenance and Improvement Grant, or LMIG, from the Georgia Department of Transportation, and $365,000 from the county’s own Transportation Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax, or T-SPLOST. After some utility line relocation costs involving Excelsior Electric Membership Corp., the total cost is running very close to the $715,000 budget, Deal said.
The original plan called for taller poles and wire cables spanning the intersection, which is crisscrossed by power lines, to support the traffic signals.
However, Georgia Power surveyed the location and objected that the design would place the traffic signal poles and support wires too close to its higher-voltage transmission lines.
In early 2021, Georgia Power proposed to raise the transmission lines in return for a $287,507 payment from the county. But the commissioners rejected this proposal, and Deal and the contracted design firm, Parker Engineering, developed a plan to use shorter poles with mast arms for the traffic signals and place the wires that operate them underground.