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To improve and upgrade the infrastructure (stormwater drainage systems, underground private utilities) and the streetscape (streets, benches, sidewalks, lighting, trees/landscaping, crosswalks, pedestrian gathering areas) in the area of Clayton Street from North Thomas Street to North Lumpkin Street.
There are multiple benefits for underground infrastructure and above ground streetscape for businesses in the area, residents in the area, and citizens and visitors who come downtown:
Most of the approximately $12 million of funding comes from Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST) 2005 Project #10: Business Corridor Improvements, along with Transportation Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (TSPLOST) 2018 Project #9: Downtown Transportation Improvements Program. Both were approved by citizen votes as part of larger programs.
This project is actually a continuation of two earlier projects that have been completed. One improved both the infrastructure and streetscape on East Broad Street from North Thomas Street to Pulaski Street and on West Clayton Street from North Lumpkin Street to Pulaski Street. The second project completed improvements to the water and sewer infrastructure in parts of the Clayton Street area undergoing the next phase of work. The ACC Public Utilities Department replaced aging sewer lines and aging water lines to add more capacity. This upcoming project on Clayton Street will tie into parts of both completed projects.
Yes. In 2014, initial plans were approved and the project was split into two phases: water/sewer work and stormwater/streetscape work. The majority of water/sewer improvements were completed by the ACC Public Utilities Department in 2014, although some minor changes may be needed when the final streetscape is constructed. The stormwater/streetscape work was combined with streetscape work around City Hall and put out for bids by private contactors in 2014. No contractor submitted a bid by the November deadline. As a result, the scope was changed to only focus on the Clayton Street area and put out to bid again. One bid was submitted in 2015, but for a cost that was twice the amount of available funds and was rejected.Since that time, the project was reconfigured to have ACC Transportation & Public Works obtain equipment and staffing to construct the stormwater segment internally, while bidding out only the above-ground streetscape work. Additional project funding was approved by citizens as part of the TSPLOST 2018 program in November 2017. In January 2018, the Mayor and Commission approved an agenda item to advance the stormwater work to the construction phase, the streetscape work to the preliminary plans phase, and to begin taking public input.
The ACC Transportation & Public Works Department will handle the stormwater system improvements. Private utilities will handle their improvements. The SPLOST Program Management Office and their consultant, T.Y. Lin International, will manage the overall project construction, but the contractor for the streetscape improvements has not yet been identified. This work will be bid out before the streetscape phase begins.
There are currently three timeframes being considered.
All schedules involve beginning some work in June 2018.
The accelerated schedule involves no major work during the football/holiday season in 2018. Completion is expected in August. It would involve extensive work between January and August 2019 and require more lane and street closures, as well as business interruptions.
The continuous schedule is expected to finish by January 2020, but would involve some work during the football/holiday seasons of 2018 and 2019.
The split schedule is expected to finish by September 2020. In the split schedule, no major stormwater or streetscape work would take place during the football/holiday seasons in the fall of either 2018 or 2019.
Lane closures will be needed at times, so traffic will be impacted to some degree depending on the adopted schedule. The project will be staged in sections to avoid issues in any one area for longer than necessary.
Yes, although some on-street parking will be unavailable at times when closures are needed on a street. On-street parking will remain open whenever possible.
If the split schedule is adopted, no major construction is planned during the UGA football home game timeframe. Whichever schedule is adopted, work would be cleaned up and temporary repairs made as much as possible by the Thursday evening before major event weekends. Some lane or street closures or parking restrictions may be necessary over these events on areas of the streets, but would be as minimal as possible.
They will be removed in summer 2018 and eventually replaced.
We’ve learned a lot about urban trees since these were planted decades ago. The trees that were planted were not well suited for confined urban spaces, nor were the planters that encased them as well designed as today’s planters. These trees are also nearing the end of their lifecycle and are not only in decline, but they have grown throughout the downtown infrastructure, causing problems with sidewalks, utilities, streets, and even buildings. Some have already been removed due to safety concerns. It is impossible to replace and improve the underground infrastructure and streetscape without seriously damaging or killing the existing trees.
Yes. Trees better suited to an urban environment will be planted in spaces better designed to handle their root systems. These trees should last for decades, if not longer, without causing the problems of these older ones.
Yes. Access will be maintained to businesses as much as possible during the entire project. Short time frames for utility tie-ins or sidewalk cuts will be needed in front of a business entrance that may impact access. In these cases, owners will be notified and attempts will be made to schedule work for times of minimal disruption.
Normal daytime hours on weekdays, generally between 7:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m.
None is presently scheduled. However, some sidewalk or lane restrictions may be necessary for safety over weekends or to complete certain sections due to unforeseen circumstances encountered during construction.
Yes. Funding of 1% of the project budget for public art is part of every SPLOST 2011 and TSPLOST 2018 project unless the Athens Cultural Affairs Commission (ACAC) specifically exempts it. ACAC will coordinate using $53,650 for public art on this project. It is not yet known what form the public art will take.
Maybe. Although not part of the Clayton Street project specifically, changes to the sidewalk cafe ordinance will be considered during the same time frame as part of findings from an overall downtown safety study.
Maybe. Although not part of the Clayton Street project specifically, changes to downtown trash collection are being considered by the ACC Solid Waste Department during the same time frame.