Downtown Infrastructure & Streetscape Project Phase 2 Delayed until Spring 2015
Originally scheduled to begin in January 2015, Phase 2 of the SPLOST-funded Downtown Infrastructure and Streetscape Project has been delayed and is now expected to begin this spring. The delay results from no private contractors submitting bids to Athens-Clarke County by the November deadline to undertake the project.
"This is the first time in more than 20 years of working in project management that I've seen zero bids submitted for a project," says SPLOST Project Manager Derek Doster. This unusual situation is due in part to the unique nature of downtown, the construction time frame, the complicated physical environment, requirement specifications for firms interested in bidding on the project, and the current workloads of qualified firms.
Athens-Clarke County staff is considering contractor feedback as it approaches re-bidding the project. Doster envisions a refined process that allows some flexibility while continuing to ensure the qualifications of contractors and strives to minimize disruption to downtown business owners, residents and visitors.
Although staff expects that this will lead to more companies submitting proposals, a contractor would not be selected until the first quarter of 2015. This means that construction would not likely begin until spring 2015. The delay will also likely change the projected end of the project from August 2015 until late fall 2015 or spring 2016, although a full timeline would not be known until proposals are submitted. Any work done during fall 2015 will be on an altered schedule to help minimize disruptions and be sensitive to fall activities, including UGA football gamedays and key shopping windows.
Phase 2 of the Downtown Infrastructure and Streetscape Project is designed to install and improve stormwater facilities and the streetscape on the East Clayton Street area between Thomas Street and Lumpkin Street and on North Jackson Street between East Washington Street and East Broad Street. 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. The overall program was divided into two phases based on downtown business owners' feedback.
Phase 2 project work will include pavement/sidewalk removal, tree replacement, storm drain installation, pedestrian lighting installation, pavement/sidewalk replacement, removal of multi-space parking stations, installation of new parking meters, and installation of streetscape amenities such as benches, bike racks and planters.
Although none of the actual Phase 2 project work will begin until spring 2015, some private utility companies may begin improvements and installations for their systems beginning in January, resulting in possible short-term lane and sidewalk closures. Private utility companies include power, cable and telecommunications providers.
For more information, visit www.accstreetscape.com or contact Derek Doster, SPLOST Project Manager, at 706-613-3025.