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City OKs funding for pedestrian bridge

A proposed SPLOST-funded project would offer Albany Technical College students safer passage across a busy road.

ALBANY, Ga. — The Albany City Commission gave non-binding approval Tuesday to utilization of $1.69 million in Special-Purpose Local-Option Sales Tax VI funding to build a pedestrian bridge across South Slappey Boulevard for use by students at Albany Technical College.

Asked by Ward I Commissioner Jon Howard if building the structure, initially projected to cost $865,000, would jeopardize any other SPLOST-approved projects due to additional costs, City Manager James Taylor said it would not.

“Unless we’ve made a $7 million mistake somewhere, no, this project will not jeopardize other SPLOST projects,” Taylor said.

Voters had approved more than $7 million as part of the SPLOST VI referendum for replacing the condemned Broad Avenue bridge, a project whose funding was subsequently provided completely by the state Department of Transportation. Taylor indicated the additional funding for the pedestrian bridge for Albany Tech could be deducted from the Broad Avenue bridge replacement funds.

Ward IV Commissioner Roger Marietta asked SRJ Architects President Mike Johnson, whose firm had given Albany Tech the updated $1.69 million estimate for the bridge, why the new estimate exceeded the original figure.

“I’m not sure where that original number came from,” Johnson said. “(Albany Tech) came to us (for a bid) after the fact.”

Ward VI Commissioner Tommie Postell said he wants the project estimate as accurate as possible.

“Whatever we vote on, I’d like for them not to come back to us for more money,” Postell said. “This project is in my ward, and I am in favor of it. But I’d like for this to be a one-time deal.”

Tuesday’s work session got off to a rousing start when, after Mayor Dorothy Hubbard asked for a moment of silence in recognition of Monday’s bombing victims in Boston, former commissioner Henry Mathis challenged current Ward II commissioner Ivey Hines and other members of the board on their plans to take a bigger role in the operation of the city’s Water, Gas & Light Commission.

“My question to Commissioner Hines, my commissioner, and to this board is ‘Why now?’” Mathis said. “The Water, Gas & Light Commission is one of the most efficient and effective departments in Albany. If we allow commissioners to be in the Water, Gas & Light business, what’s going to stop them from telling voters they can set rates while they’re campaigning?

“I also want to know if this action they’re taking requires General Assembly action. Does the city’s charter allow (WG&L) funds to be transferred to a nonprofit entity? And my other question is whether, in the last seven years, any member of this commission has benefited monetarily from WG&L funds? If so, I want you to get that out there.”

Mathis’ comments got no response from the commission.

Planning Manager Mary Teter told the board new traffic counts taken along Old Dawson Road over a recent seven-day period indicated the average count on Old Dawson from Pointe North Boulevard to Colonial Drive was 16,824. A previous count, taken over a four-day period, indicated average traffic at that section of Old Dawson was 16,100 vehicles a day. The new count surpasses the highway capacity of 16,600 vehicles.

The information was given in response to developer Danny Blackshear’s proposal to develop land off Old Dawson and citizens in the area’s attempts to stop him for, among other reasons, the traffic congestion on the road during peak morning and afternoon hours. The issue will be addressed more fully at a public hearing during next Tuesday’s night commission meeting.

Comments

MRKIA 1 year ago

PUT IN A PEDESTRIAN CROSSING SIGNAL AND LET THEM PUSH A BUTTON TO STOP THE CARS.

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KaosinAlbany 1 year ago

That would be a state project not a city project and it might end up costing more due to no intersection right there.

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MRKIA 1 year ago

YOU DON'T NEED AN INTERSECTION, JUST A CROSSING LIGHT TO STOP THE CARS OCCASIONALLY.

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Engineer 1 year ago

Generally speaking, if you are stopping the flow of traffic on a state route, you have to do it under the GDoT. Plus anyways, based on the location of the ATC building that is across the street, I'm guessing it'd be near the midpoint between Industry Ave. and Seminole Ln. so I'm guessing it won't be at an intersection.

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KaosinAlbany 1 year ago

They will get run over. Have you seen the way people drive down Slappey in the morning? I have and I am in a car and almost get hit all the time. Sorry, but the idea just isn't feasible. The bridge has been in the works for a long time so you had plenty of time to voice your opinion before now. Heck, it was on the SPLOST list and it was voted on and passed. Now, what I do have a problem with is the extra money the contractor came up with after the fact. I don't think it is legal to do that. Then everyone can raise the amount of their bids on other projects. If I were sitting on the commission I would fight that issue.

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snakedr 1 year ago

MRKIA, you are so right lets use this money to help try to get our city safe again pay this money to our local law enforcement, Because it a shame you can't leave you home nowadays to go out of town without your personal property been vandalized.

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KaosinAlbany 1 year ago

If you voted on SPLOST you would know this was already approved by the people who voted it in. Keep up, people!!

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KaosinAlbany 1 year ago

Thanks for piping up, Henry! I have been asking that question all along.

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KaosinAlbany 1 year ago

Of course, they didn't respond. Because he put them in a tight spot. They should respond but they won't until you make them. They are valid questions and he deserves a response from the Commission.

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Sister_Ruby 1 year ago

More "No Comment". I say they are PAID TO COMMENT TO A LEGITIMATE QUESTION BY A CITIZEN!!

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KaosinAlbany 1 year ago

I asked questions to the commission at the hearing before they raised our taxes and I had to make them answer my questions... well sort of. I got some bull crap answers out of Langstaff that didn't even relate to my questions. It was the lamest thing I ever witnessed. They were going to ignore me but I pressed the issue for answers. They work for us and NOT the other way around.

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VSU 1 year ago

About how many people will cross this bridge? One? What a colossal waste of money. We need this bridge about as much as we need another arch. I agree with snakedr, this money would be far better used for public safety, hire more policeman and give them better pay. Pave the many road that are breaking apart and held together by patches. Replace the many streetlight that are not working. Look at all the money they spent on those lights on westover, half of them don't even work on one side. Let's forget about the robberies, drive by shootings etc, but by all means put up that pedestrian bridge so that one person can cross the street.

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KaosinAlbany 1 year ago

The reason for the bridge is because some parking is located on the other side of Slappey from the main campus and the students need to get across safely. I would imagine a bunch of students would use it. Plus, the voters already approved the project but now the cost went up. I think we need some straight answers about the cost that was factored for the voters to vote on. This cannot legally be changed.

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stc1993 1 year ago

The manufacturing part of the vo school is located across the street also. I don't know if it's changed or not. They use to teach plastic injection molding over there, if my memory is correct.

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VSU 1 year ago

I thought Splost got voted down. I know I didn't vote for it. Seems to me it would be a lot cheaper to build a parking space on the same side of the road.

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RedEric 1 year ago

The arch VSU, that's it! We got one in storage. You put two together, get some redneck engineers and waalaa. Pedestrian bridge.

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Sherwood_Eagle_Alum 1 year ago

I might have some extra Duct tape in my garage.

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Abytaxpayer 1 year ago

Ward IV Commissioner Roger Marietta asked why the new estimate exceeded the original figure. EXCEEDED you mean why did it double from 865,000 to $1.69 million. Come on Roger we all know that answer. This is Albany and our commissioners have no idea how to control money…..I mean what the heck, it is just more “FREE SPLOST” money to waste. A cross walk would make sense. But a Bridge? Any bets on how many will climb the steps to cross the bridge.. I am betting it will be just like the one around the corner on Oakridge, the kids run under the bridge to cross the street. Too much work to climb when they can run across the street.

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MRKIA 1 year ago

PULL UP THAT USELESS ARCH DOWNTOWN AND USE IT TO SUPPORT THE PEDESTRIAN BRIDGE. THAT SHOULD SAVE SOME MONEY.

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Thurman 1 year ago

This will wind up being like the pedestrian bridges located on East Oglethorpe near Cason, and on West Oakridge near Westtown Rd. I can get to work by using either route and am traveling through these areas just prior to school start times. Most of these elementary school aged children I see crossing both of these highways are not using anything, just looking for a clear spot and running across. Wouldn't it be nice if they did a clandestine "student traffic count" just prior to school starting and immediately after school hours to determine just how many students are running across these busy highways?

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stc1993 1 year ago

That's one of the reasons Albany has such a high pedestrian casualty rate. The parents don't teach their children how to safely cross a street.

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BettyBowTie 1 year ago

The Industrial Arts building is on the west side of the street. Not hugely used by Tech students. A lot is rented out for Work Ready and training classes for private businesses like National Electronic Warranty did when they were there.

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Pappa 1 year ago

And this is the reason I did not vote for splost. If you give them money it will be pissed away.

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stc1993 1 year ago

You got that right pappa, I've never voted for it & never will.

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waltspecht 1 year ago

Why not relocate the one at Alice Coachman? I have never seen a soul on it, and I have been there when the signals are flashing for school speed limits. Plus, most of the students simply move their car across the street, instead of walking. I observed this many times when I taught at EDC Programs. Very few walked. I know it might be a safety factor. I do note that in Vermont there are marked pedestrian crossings in college towns. There is no red light , just the markings and a cone. Plus the fact that if one fails to yeild to a pedestrian within that walk, they will be happy to give you a $500 fine. Seemed to work really well from what I have observed on my many visits to that State.

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KaosinAlbany 1 year ago

Yeah, but do they drive like the people drive in this town?

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Thurman 1 year ago

Open challenge to the City of Albany, Dougherty County, and the Dougherty County School System: Have someone do a week-long count of people (students/non-students) who use each of these bridges over any of the roads.

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VSU 1 year ago

There has to be a cheaper alternative! Even if 30 people crossed over, that's a lot of money to be spent just for a small amount of people. Let Albany Tech hire a crossing guard.

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FryarTuk 1 year ago

Henry Mathis has a past that includes federal convictions for extortion of several hundred dollars and lying to law enforcement nevertheless the questions and political scenarios he put to the current nabobs who think of themselves as city leaders should be answered: " My question to Commissioner Hines, my commissioner, and to this board is ‘Why now?’” Mathis said. “The Water, Gas & Light Commission is one of the most efficient and effective departments in Albany. If we allow commissioners to be in the Water, Gas & Light business, what’s going to stop them from telling voters they can set rates while they’re campaigning?

“I also want to know if this action they’re taking requires General Assembly action. Does the city’s charter allow (WG&L) funds to be transferred to a nonprofit entity? And my other question is whether, in the last seven years, any member of this commission has benefited monetarily from WG&L funds? If so, I want you to get that out there.”

Really needs to be answered by the incestuous nest of rogues trying to hijack WG&L millions.

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OUTsiderLookingINalbany 1 year ago

Such a waste! I see people all the time that are to lazy and unwilling to walk 50 feet to a cross walk and push a button.... let alone go up some stairs to get across. This thing will hardly ever be used, and thats a promise.

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