JOHNS CREEK, Ga. — Nearly three years after voters opted to increase their sales tax to fund transportation projects, the Johns Creek City Council has approved the first construction contract.
“We’ve been a little slow to the draw, but we had an opportunity to approve tonight our first TSPLOST project to move forward,” Mayor Mike Bodker said. “It’s kind of a momentous occasion.”
The contract, approved on the consent agenda Oct. 7, is for the intersection of Bell Road at McGinnis Ferry. The lowest bidder, CMES Inc., was awarded $1.725 million for construction, with inspection services awarded to BM&K for $90,000.
The project is to extend the northbound right-turn lane on Bell Road and to add through lanes on McGinnis Ferry.
“I know many of us, while we may not agree on the method, we can agree traffic kind of stinks here in Johns Creek and throughout Metro Atlanta,” Bodker said. “This will be one step forward, hopefully, to improving both safety, which we call operational improvements, and congestion relief.”
This intersection is part of a cluster of projects, originally estimated to cost $7 million total, for the Bell-Boles corridor. Bell and Boles road form a “Y” that connects residential neighborhoods, parks — including the to-be-developed Cauley Creek Park — and Shakerag Elementary and River Trail Middle schools.
Also, as part of Bell-Boles corridor improvements, the city plans to make intersection improvements, such as adding or extending turn lanes, at Bell and Medlock Bridge Road and at Boles and Abbotts Bridge. The city also plans to replace the bridge over Cauley Creek tributary and add roundabouts along Bell Road.
“I want to thank the council for moving the project forward and for your patience since we are now in 2019 and you approved that in 2016,” Bodker said. “With that, hopefully we’ll pick up the pace from here.”
If the goal is to pick up the pace, they’re off to a good start. The council is likely to approve another construction contract at its next meeting.
At the Oct. 7 work session, the council reviewed plans to widen State Bridge Road from Camden Way to the Chattahoochee River and agreed to place the contract on the consent agenda.
The project also includes adding a pedestrian bridge over the Chattahoochee on the north side of the roadway and traffic signal upgrades at Camden Way and St. Georgen Common.
If approved, the contract will be for $4 million also with CMES, while inspection will be with Moreland Altobelli for $189,000. The city has also set aside a contingency fund of 10 percent of the total project for unforeseen circumstances.
The cost of the bridge projects is being shared with Gwinnett County. Fulton County is shouldering the cost of waterline relocation, and Johns Creek received a $1.5 million grant from the Georgia Transportation Infrastructure Bank.
The original cost estimate for this project was $4 million, so with the state grant and agreements with Gwinnett and Fulton, the project should come in under budget by at least $1.7 million or as much as $2.1 million, depending on use of the contingency fund.
“You had me at ‘Hello,’” Bodker said of the project. “Especially when you’re returning $1.7 million, or potentially $2.1 million, to other TSPLOST projects.”
In 2016, Johns Creek voters narrowly voted in favor of the transportation sales tax 50.02 percent to 49.98, or by about a dozen votes. Countywide the referendum passed 52.7 percent to 47.3.