LEESBURG, Ga. — Those who are tired of politicians’ hollow promises have an opportunity to celebrate a fulfilled one today.
A paving crew with Albany-based Reeves Construction Co. completed asphalt work on Crotwell Road in northwest Lee County on Monday, giving the 25 or so families who live along the road a much nicer drive to look forward to as they head to work, school and other locales. The project is the first in a $1.9 million aggressive road improvement program approved by the Lee County Commission in October.
“I guess it does seem like this program came about in a hurry, but there was a lot of work behind the scenes before the commission was able to greenlight it,”
County Administrator Tony Massey said Monday. “What allowed us to pull the trigger, though, was the announcement that we’d received the (federally funded) Community Development Block Grant for improvements on Livingston Road (in Smithville).
“Livingston was identified as a road in the county in such poor condition it needed to be taken care of. Once the ($370,000) CDBG grant was approved, that allowed us to reprioritize our road repair list.”
The county had earmarked $1 million in tax anticipation funding for road improvements based on projected revenue from Special-Purpose Local-Option Sales Tax VI, overwhelmingly approved by Lee voters on March 15 and scheduled to kick in in 2013. Among the funding allocations approved in that SPLOST vote was $10.7 million for road improvements and repairs.
The remainder of the cost for the road projects that started with Crotwell and will include work on Flowing Well, Donald, David, Thomas, Lane, Ragan and Palmyra roads will come from unused SPLOST IV funding.
“We decided to do the work on Crotwell first for a number of reasons,” Massey said. “First, it was a carryover from one of the earlier SPLOSTs, so we’re playing catch-up. Also, the road is fairly well-used, it already had a good, solid base in place, and we didn’t have to acquire rights-of-way to move forward with the project.”
County officials have trumpeted the work of Lee Public Works crews, which they say cut the cost of the project considerably by handling the prep work on Crotwell.
“I’ve been bragging on our folks a bit lately, but they deserve it,” Public Works Director Mike Sistrunk said Monday morning after checking the progress of the Crotwell paving. “I told them they were paid professionals, and this work was an opportunity for them to show the citizens of the county that they were getting their money’s worth out of us.
“Because the crew working on Crotwell did their job well — and the others on staff took up the slack so that this crew could do the road prep work — the folks from Reeves came in here and started rocking first thing. They had one lane almost done (by 10:30), and I expect them to be done and out of here by 3 this afternoon. Our folks will do a little touch-up, and we’ll get ready to move on to the next project.”
That next project is Flowing Well Road, another holdover from an earlier SPLOST referendum.
“We still have to clear three or four right-of-way issues, but as soon as we get that done, we’ll start getting Flowing Well ready,” Sistrunk said. “There’s some work we can do that is not impacted (by right-of-way acquisition), so after the Thanksgiving holidays I think we’ll go ahead and get started out there.”
Massey praised the work of Public Works personnel on Crotwell.
“Mike and his crews deserve a lot of credit,” the county administrator said. “They saved the county a lot of money, and they saved us a lot of time on this project.”