East Clayton Street Improvements Project
Restriping of East Clayton Street from 3 Lanes to 2 Lanes Starts July 13
As part of the continuing East Clayton Street Improvements project, East Clayton Street from North Lumpkin Street to North Thomas Street will transition from its existing three lane configuration to the approved two lane configuration beginning July 13.
The two lane configuration has already been in place on the remainder of Clayton Street for a number of years.
This transition is part of the final design adopted for the corridor. Implementing the change now will not only help vehicles begin to get used to the new configuration and provide safety spacing as Georgia Power and Atlanta Gas Light continue with utility improvements and as the ACCGov private contractor mobilizes to begin construction efforts on the streetscape.
Although the center lanes will no longer be available for parking for deliveries, vendors and businesses can continue to use existing side street and adjacent block delivery zones.
While the existing parking spaces will remain their current configuration, the angles and depth of the spaces will change as the curbing is adjusted to the new width.
Final paving and striping of the project area will take place towards the completion of the full project, which is expected in 2021.
Georgia Power Work Continues & Atlanta Gas Light Work Begins
Since May, Georgia Power has continued its extensive work on 14 underground power vaults and manholes in the area in order to adjust their elevations for the new streetscape and change out covers. Some are located in the sidewalks, some are located in the street, and some are located in both areas. Work on these utility properties is expected to be completed in the next few weeks.
Atlanta Gas Light will begin moving and changing gas main and service lines throughout the corridor in the next two weeks. As a private utility, they will contact businesses and/or property owners along the area to schedule re-establishing gas service. This project is expected to take 8-10 weeks.
Sidewalk restrictions, pedestrian rerouting, parking space closures, and lane restrictions/closures will take place to various levels depending on the areas of the utility locations. No full road closures are detours planned at this time.
The streetscape contractor, Astra Group, will work with both utilities to make sure the sidewalks and streets are patched temporarily and are safe for use until the new streetscape is installed.
Streetscape Work Update (July 9)
The next phase of public roadwork construction in this area will involve the installation of conduit for electrical and other services in Clayton Street in order to provide services to new traffic lights, streetlights, and other services.
The conduit will be installed in the roadway and in some areas of the current sidewalk and future sidewalk areas. Currently, the plan involves starting at the North Lumpkin Street side and proceeding to Thomas Street, although it is subject to change.
The project is expected to begin after Georgia Power’s work is completed and during Atlanta Gas Light’s efforts and is expected to take several months to complete. Unlike the stormwater infrastructure project that took place in two phases - a pre-dig phase and an installation phase - the conduit installation will take place in one phase.
Some streetscape work is expected to begin in approximately six weeks, after Georgia Power and Atlanta Gas Light work is largely completed and after conduit installation has been completed for part of the corridor.
Overall, streetscape work is expected to take ~18 months and will be completed in sections.
The Astra Group was selected in summer 2019 to work on the pre-planning, coordination of utility conflict resolution, and construction of the streetscape component of the project.
Our ACCGov project ambassador, Mr. Dana Garrison, has started transitioning into place as work effort ramps up and will work as a business liaison for the entire project.
The entire streetscape effort includes underground infrastructure needed to support items such as street lights and traffic signals, as well as hardscape surface elements such as curb and gutter, sidewalk replacement, and other above-ground elements such as landscaping, bike racks, benches, lights, public art, and other items.
- Some initial streetscape work such as surveying and "potholing" for new traffic signal locations took place in April 2020.
- Work is expected to largely be done in sections by block along the corridor.
- The initial work will involve the demolition of existing streetscape and the replacement to 75-80% of completion.
- Pedestrian paths will be maintained during these times.
- Final completion to 100% - landscaping and paving - will be done towards the end of the project in larger segments.
Eco-Station Areas Coming to Downtown
Related to this project - although separate from it - the ACC Solid Waste Department will be working with this project to install eco-stations in key locations.
Eco-stations are enclosed areas used to gather trash and recycling from businesses and residents in order to avoid bags and recycling being placed directly on the streetscape / sidewalk. Bags left on the curbs leak, are unsightly, cause pedestrian conflicts, and can be a safety hazard.
Eco-stations often have artistic or green components as part of them. ACC Solid Waste is working with the Athens Downtown Development Association (ADDA) and Clayton Street Improvements Project staff on some locations to be included in the streetscape work and working on the process of using the eco-stations. More information will be forthcoming as the designs are approved.
If you have questions in the meantime on the eco-stations, contact the ACC Solid Waste Department at 706-613-3501.
Streetscape Design Approved
The streetscape preliminary design was approved for the Clayton Street Improvements Project by the Mayor and Commission at their February 5, 2019 meeting.
Public Art Concept Approved
The Mayor and Commission also approved the Athens Cultural Affairs Commission's recommendation for the preliminary concept of the public art component for East Clayton Street on March 5.
Selected artist Eric Leshinsky, an urban planner, will work to finalize his Clayton Connector public art with staff and the community over the coming months, as the art installation will not occur until towards the end of the project.
The Clayton Connector uses a powder-coated galvanized metal pipe that bends in multiple ways, stops and starts, and creates functional shapes such as benches, bike racks, and other frames, as it moves along the sidewalk within a narrow area that avoids disrupting pedestrian traffic.
Why the Delay? The Pre-Dig Was Ahead of Schedule
The Phase 1 Pre-Dig did exactly what it was supposed to do: pre-dig a trench for installing the major parts of the stormwater pipe infrastructure and identify issues underground.
Exactly what and where items are located under the streets of downtown Athens is a mystery until the road is opened. Some structures are more than 100 years old; record keeping for public and private utilities has not always been as diligent as it is today.
As a result of the pre-dig, ACCGov staff were able to identify a large number of previously unknown lines, vaults, conduit, and other items underground. While most of these didn't affect digging the trench itself (although some did require changes to the depth or location of the trench), they would affect other parts of the stormwater and streetscape. A staff surveyor was even on site throughout the project to make sure that items discovered were properly located and identified.
So while the pre-dig was able to proceed as normal, the number of significant conflicts between where items are and where they will need to be located was larger and more complex than expected. Staff and the design team have been working to make changes to the plans and working with private utilities to determine what needs to be moved and the order that it needs to take place.
Overall Clayton Street Improvements Project Timeline
General tentative project schedule (updated December 31, 2019):
- Pre-Dig Phase (for Stormwater System) - June 18 - Nov. 1, 2018 - completed Oct. 2019
- Private Utility Relocations & Adjustments - Ongoing
- Stormwater System Installation by Athens-Clarke County - completed April 2020
- Streetscape Installation by Private Contractor - Summer 2020 - Fall 2021
Note that schedules referenced on these documents have changed.
The Athens-Clarke County Mayor and Commission approved the Clayton Street area project concept at their Regular Voting Session on Tuesday, January 2, 2018 and the preliminary design at their Regular Voting Session on Tuesday, June 5, 2018 for Clayton Street from Thomas Street to North Lumpkin Street. Wall Street and North Jackson Street from East Broad Street to Washington Street are considered part of the overall project that will be considered during the design planning.
At this meeting, the Mayor & Commission:
- approved the proposed project concept elements for Clayton Street Infrastructure & Transportation Improvements that were included in the agenda item attachment;
- approved the project as appropriate for including public art as per Athens-Clarke County policy and requested by the Athens Cultural Affairs Commission;
- authorized staff to advance the stormwater and other underground infrastructure of the project to be built by Athens-Clarke County Transportation and Public Works staff to the construction phase;
- and authorized staff to begin the preliminary plans design phase and to begin taking public input on the preliminary design.
Phase 1 of the project was completed in 2014 by the ACC Public Utilities Department and included improving water and sewer infrastructure in this area downtown.
Phase 2 of the project is designed to install and improve stormwater facilities and other infrastructure, as well as the streetscape on the East Clayton Street area between Thomas Street and Lumpkin Street.
Phase 2 project work will include:
- pavement/sidewalk removal
- tree replacement
- storm drain installation
- pedestrian lighting installation
- pavement/sidewalk replacement,
- installation of streetscape amenities such as benches, bike racks and planters.
Originally funded through Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST) funds, the project originally included improvements to the area around City Hall. Phase 2 was put on hold in fall 2015 due to the sole project bid coming in at nearly twice the budgeted amount for the project after the previous bid opportunity received no responses in 2014.
Since 2015, plans were changed to reduce costs by eliminating the City Hall area of the project, leaving only the Clayton Street area, and planning for ACC Transportation and Public Works to obtain the needed equipment and crews to undertake the stormwater and other underground infrastructure internally, thus reducing the cost and risk.
On November 7, 2017, voters in Athens-Clarke County approved the Transportation Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (TSPLOST) program. One of the projects in this program added funding to the original SPLOST funds for the Clayton Street area project, which has enabled the project to move forward in early 2018 into the planning stage and, beginning on June 18, 2018, the construction stage.