Hogansville agrees to wait on road fix

Published 5:48 pm Tuesday, March 19, 2019

HOGANSVILLE — After much discussion and deliberation on Monday night, the Hogansville City Council voted to delay a road paving improvement project set to take place on Pine Street, taking into consideration the opinion of multiple civil engineers in doing so. The work on Pine Street, which was noted by both members of the council and engineers alike as being in dire need of repair, was delayed due to the possibility of federal money that might be available to the city in the future through a Community Development Block Grant (CDBG).  

The CDBG program is a federal program that began in 1974 to provide communities with resources to address a wide range of community development needs and is one of the longest-running programs underneath the umbrella of the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development. Hogansville is eligible to apply for a new grant every two years and since 2011 has received $2.25 million in federal funding through the CDBG program. The city must complete its 2019 CDBG application by April 1 and will be eligible to receive $750,000 for the upcoming period. 

These federal dollars, should the city receive them, could be used to repair water lines that run parallel below Pine Street, thus the dollars could also be used to then repair Pine Street itself once the underlying work was complete. 

While this course of action will delay an immediate fix to the road, it was eventually determined to be the best course of action on Monday night. 

The city put out for bid a road paving improvements project for Pine Street at the conclusion of its March 6 council meeting and received two bids back in the amounts of $166,089.60 and $172,432.04, respectively. The scope of the project sent out to bid, however, did not meet the scope of the repair work needed on that road, per multiple civil engineers. 

“As your consultant, I would be careful with this [immediate fix],” said Adam Price, managing partner for Falcon Design Consultants who was hired by the city to consult on the paving project.  “You’re going to spend $155,000 to $165,000 on this. In two years, the road might look just like it does today because you’re putting a patch on it. That road needs to be totally dug up and reclaimed and redone. It’s in bad shape.”

“What you’re saying is, if we go ahead and pave this road now, we’d waste $165,000?” asked City Councilwoman and Mayor Pro-Tem Theresa Strickland. 

“If the plan is to do a CDBG-funded project and re-do that road, which I believe it is, I would wait,” said Price. “I don’t think spending $155,000-$165,000 right now, if you know it might be on your CDBG schedule down the road, is a good idea.”

City Councilman Reginald Jackson asked Price why the road paving project, should the council move forward with one of the bids presented, would not last. 

“They’re not going to do a good job, a professional job?” Jackson asked, referring to the companies who submitted bids. 

“All you’re paying for is for them to pave it and patch it, they’re not rebuilding the road,” Price said. “They’re not tearing up the entire road and re-setting rock and asphalt. All they’re doing is doing the minimum to get the road functional. It will be a lot smoother for a couple years, but then it will start sinking again, because there is poor sub-grade underneath it. This is just a patch. I feel like the road needs more than what is being proposed.”

Mandy Neese, a Hogansville resident and civil engineer with Atlanta Paving and Concrete Construction, Inc., the low bidder on the project, was at the meeting and agreed with Price. 

“I would be nothing more than proud to see you guys reject these bids,” Neese said. “I would much rather prefer you guys fix Pine Street and get the road properly prepared. We can fix the road, don’t get me wrong, I can get the road up to snuff. What [Price] is telling you is once you do this CDBG project, you are going to destroy what you’ve just paid for. That’s a waste of money. It would be absurd.” 

With the information provided, the city council voted to reject the bids for the immediate repair work. The determination was made to revisit the bid later in the year, should the city not receive CDBG funding, which City Manager David Milliron said should be known by September or October of this year.