clear
Monday May 4th, 2015 2:02AM

Georgia road repairs continue as spring arrives

By The Associated Press
ATLANTA (AP) -- Winter may officially be over, finally, but an uncharacteristically rough season left chains of potholes and other problems on Georgia roads that state and local officials are still dealing with.

Weeks after a polar vortex brought subfreezing temperatures to the Southeast, the metro Atlanta area was caught unprepared for a winter storm that led to epic traffic jams in late January. About two weeks after that, another storm left a large swath of the Southeast beneath a layer of ice. Many area roads and highways have yet to recover from the wear and tear.

The Georgia Department of Transportation is using money from its $228 million Routine Maintenance fund to cover the costs of winter weather-related issues on the state's highways.

The maintenance money is separate from the department's capital construction fund, so the unexpected highway maintenance costs associated with winter weather aren't expected to have much of an effect on major road projects, said GDOT spokeswoman Natalie Dale. However, relatively minor maintenance projects may become less urgent priorities on a constantly shifting to-do list, Dale said.

"So when we have to spend more money on winter weather equipment, materials, etc. ... We simply can't make it as far down the list as we need to. We can't pull money from other parts of our budget - we simply don't get as far down on the list," Dale said in an email. "So what you're looking at is a pothole won't get fixed or damaged guard rail may not be replaced."

It's unclear exactly how much the Georgia Department of Transportation will end up spending on winter wear and tear on Georgia roads and Dale said the agency is applying for federal assistance and is still putting together cost estimates. It's unclear if spending on winter weather related issues will factor into the department's 2015 budget appropriation, Dale said.

The two winter storms and the associated cleanup costs had a roughly $13.5 million financial impact on the city of Atlanta, according to Carlos Campos, a spokesman for Mayor Kasim Reed. Atlanta has a rainy day fund of about $137 million and officials are drawing from that to deal with storm-related issues, Campos said in an emailed statement.

"Of course, we certainly view these types of unexpected weather events as qualifying for such `rainy days,' Quite literally, in these cases; just add frozen temperatures," he said.

Atlanta officials are expecting to be reimbursed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency for most of the costs. Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal requested federal emergency disaster assistance funding, but it's not clear how the funding will be split among the 39 counties it was granted to.
© Copyright 2015 AccessNorthGa.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
US stocks post sixth straight year of gains
U.S. stocks ended a strong 2014 with moderate declines Wednesday.
4:43PM ( 4 months ago )
Palestinians push ahead in pursuit of war crimes charges against Israel
Stung by a resounding defeat in the U.N. Security Council, the Palestinians announced Wednesday that they joined the International Criminal Court to pursue war crimes charges against Israel.
1:57PM ( 4 months ago )
Business News
Grass fire impacts rush hour traffic on 985
Rush hour traffic on I-985 was slowed by a grass fire Wednesay afternoon with one lane closed while firefighters fought the blaze.
10:19PM ( 4 months ago )
Judge denies motions to move, delay Tsarnaev trial
Lawyers for Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev asked a federal appeals court Wednesday to overturn a judge's decision to not move his upcoming trial out of state.
10:02PM ( 4 months ago )
Sheriff: Man shot 2 on I-85 because he wanted car
A 22-year-old man shot two people who stopped to give him a ride on Interstate 85 in South Carolina on Christmas Eve because he wanted their car to drive to Georgia, a sheriff said Wednesday.
5:21PM ( 4 months ago )
Local/State News
UNG to open Blue Ridge instructional site
With state funding approved recently, the University of North Georgia (UNG) plans to open an instructional site this fall in Blue Ridge.
By AccessWDUN Staff
6:32AM ( 1 week ago )
Suwanee Farmers Market opens May 2
The Suwanee Farmers Market opens at Town Center Park Saturday, May 2. It will be open each Saturday from 8:00-12:00 through October 3.
By AccessWDUN Staff
8:24AM ( 1 week ago )
UNG/Gainesville hosts student money management conference for state institutions
The University of North Georgia (UNG) Friday hosted student counselors, admissions officers, financial advisors and others from University System of Georgia (USG) institutions in a one-day conference about increasing financial literacy among high school and college students.
By AccessWDUN Staff
6:42PM ( 1 week ago )
FBHS senior receives JEMC scholarship
Jackson EMC recently awarded Allison Walls, Flowery Branch High School senior, with a 2015 Walter Harrison Scholarship, named in honor of a rural electrification pioneer.
By AccessWDUN Staff
10:49AM ( 1 week ago )
Lanier Tech wins 2nd straight TCSG Instructor of the Year Award
For the first time in the history of Georgia's technical colleges, a school has back-to-back winners of the coveted Technical College System of Georgia (TCSG) Rick Perkins Award for Excellence in Technical Instruction.
By AccessWDUN Staff
8:44AM ( 1 week ago )