Lower Cartecay Bridge to start construction before a temporary closure to 52 East

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ELLIJAY, Ga. – During the county’s monthly work session today, information received over a zoom call was revealed as Commission Chairman Charlie Paris, along with Public Works Director Jim Smith spoke on it’s involvement with another Georgia Department of Transportation (DOT) bridge project.

According to Smith, the state is discussing replacement of two bridges on Highway 52 East. The project would require a detour along state roads as they plan to go about the project. Smith went on to add that this could mean closure of as section of the highway for up to a year.

Through traffic would take alternative state roads. However, Smith noted that much of the local traffic would end up relying on Lower Cartecay Bridge for certain traffic and access routes. The project has been under discussion since it was condemned in April, 2017. It was later adopted into a state replacement program, and it was later given a priority over another local bridge.

Now, the bridge could see the beginning of construction to replace it over five years later. According to Chairman Paris, the date given by the state would be August, 2022.

In addition to this, Smith said that the state hopes to start its 52 East Bridges project in 2025.

Public Works Director Jim Smith

Paris added later that Smith presented a strong argument that the DOT needs to move the start date on Lower Cartecay to a earlier date so that the bridge will definitely be completed and available for traffic as necessary for local traffic.

While the state made no official promises, Smith said representatives “didn’t disagree” with a need for an earlier start to Lower Cartecay.

This project has gone through several plans for replacement in the county as former Post Commissioner Travis Crouch debated for setting aside money in the annual budget to replace the bridge before the board found the state replacement program.

A massive reduction in local costs, the county applied and was accepted into the program, but has, until today, never heard of official start dates for the physical construction as the state has been acquiring right of ways and engineering plans for the project.

Paris said both he and Smith stressed the importance of having he bridge completed sooner rather than later, especially with another major bridge project nearby so close behind it on the timeline.

Sons of the American Revolution honor Blairsville Police Department

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sons of the american revolution and police chief Bear Baxter

BLAIRSVILLE, Ga – Sons of the American Revolution, Blue Ridge Mountain Chapter, paid tribute to the Blairsville Police Department during the March 2 City Council meeting.

Chapter leadership presented the award of appreciation to Police Chief Michael “Bear” Baxter.

“The Blue Ridge Mountain Chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution presents this award to the Blairsville Police Department in appreciation for their service, commitment, sacrifices, and patriotism of the members of the police department,” President Jared Ogden stated.

Members of the Blue Ridge Mountain Chapter leadership presenting the award.

Members of the Sons of the American Revolution are lineal descendants of those who fought for the American Colonies or provided support during the war. Sons of the American Revolution work to preserve the Constitution and “defend it against all foes.” They conduct historical awareness programs to educate others as well as promote patriotism.

Ogden also commented on the honor of appearing before the city council when other communities might not welcome their organization anymore.

LED Lights on the Square

The new LED lights for the square are awaiting installation; the 34 lights cost the city $14,400 in SPLOST funds. Installation will take place once maintenance hears back from the electrician. Once mounted, LED lights will provide more visibility around the square, making it safer for employees who arrive or leave work in the dark.

Sidewalk Project from Square to Granddaddy Mimm’s

In the future, the city will put in a sidewalk from the square down to Granddaddy Mimm’s. They are waiting on two property easements. These property owners have agreed a sidewalk would benefit the area. The project will cost around $64,000, with 70 percent of the financing will come from DOT.

“There’s a lot to it to be a sidewalk, a lot of curve and guttering, and because of the steepness of the grade there, it’s going to have to be a terrace. It won’t be handicap approved. There’s no way we could do that. It will be terraced through where you don’t walk just straight down,” Mayor Jim Conley explained.

The sidewalk will stop at Granddaddy Mimm’s.

Councilmember Tony Dyer commented that Blairsville has other areas in need of sidewalks, and Conley agreed.

L to R: City Clerk Kaye McCann. Mayor Jim Conley, and Councilmember Rhonda Mahan.

L to R: City Clerk Kaye McCann. Mayor Jim Conley, and Councilmember Rhonda Mahan.

2020 Budget Amendments

The library, police department, and airport fund needed budget adjustments. Police department went slightly over because of the increased Shop With A Cop revenue. The budget needed to be adjusted upward to reflect the final donation number. The airport’s increased expenses were the result of equipment maintenance and repairs. As for the library, the city approved $7,500 as their contribution but only gave $7,000, so they had to reflect the budget increase.

2021 Hazard Mitigation Plan

The city and county developed Union’s Hazard Mitigation plan as required by FEMA in case of natural or manmade disasters. They must adopt a plan to receive funding in the event of a hazardous situation. The plan is a working document that can be changed when needed. It serves as the first step in “rational, long-range, mitigation planning and budgeting for Union County and its municipalities.”

Utility Billing Clerk Hire

Karla Franklin was hired as Utility Billing Clerk to replace Karen Carver, who is retiring. Franklin previously worked for Coosa Water and has billing experience.

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