Cobb trying — again — to get bridge built
by Geoff Folsom
June 11, 2012 01:04 AM | 7166 views | 1 1 comments | 13 13 recommendations | email to a friend | print
From left, Cobb County Commissioners Bob Ott, Helen Goreham, Chairman Tim Lee, and JoAnn Birrell.  <br> File photo
From left, Cobb County Commissioners Bob Ott, Helen Goreham, Chairman Tim Lee, and JoAnn Birrell.
File photo
MARIETTA — Cobb County is hoping the third time will be the charm for rebuilding a bridge that has been closed since November.

A second contractor has pulled out of a project to build a new bridge on Mark Avenue that crosses a tributary of Noonday Creek in northeast Cobb. The county closed the bridge after it fell into disrepair and began to settle into the soil below.

The Cobb Board of Commissioners will vote Tuesday on awarding the contract to a third company, Lewallen Construction Company Inc. of Marietta, which bid $240,932 to complete the 2011 SPLOST-funded project. They will also vote on rescinding a contract with Butch Thompson Enterprises Inc. of Kennesaw, which the county said was unable to complete the project because of “unforeseen circumstances.”

“He notified us after we awarded it,” Mike Cates, Cobb Department of Transportation preconstruction engineer, said of Thompson. “In a sense, he declined the work even though we had awarded it to him.”

Efforts to reach Butch Thompson Enterprises representatives were not successful.

Cates said the company may have been concerned about some “intricate” concrete work the bridge project involved.

Commissioners voted 4-0 on April 11 to give the contract to Butch Thompson Enterprises for $248,565. Butch Thompson had finished second in initial bidding Feb. 28 behind JJE Constructors Inc. of Atlanta, which had the lowest bid of $246,657.

But JJE pulled out of the project after the county changed the bridge design because the county had problems securing right-of-way from a property owner.

Cates said the good news is that the latest delay gave the county time to go back and secure right-of-way with the property owner, allowing it to build it closer to the original plan. The bridge, which will have double 10-foot-high-by-5-foot-wide box culverts, will now cost a bit less than originally anticipated.

The Cobb DOT decided that because the right-of-way acquisition changed the scope of the project, putting it back out for bids would be the best way to go for the third try, instead of going with R.J. Haynie & Associates Inc. of Forest Park, which bid $257,456, finishing with the third lowest bid in the initial process.

In the rebid, Lewallen beat out Baldwin Paving Company Inc. of Marietta, which bid $312,787.

Construction is expected to start within days of Board of Commissioners’ approval and take about 2½ months, Cates said.

Northeast Cobb Commissioner JoAnn Birrell, who represents the area that includes the bridge, said she hopes it will be open by the start of the 2012-13 school year. Since November, occupants of the surrounding residential area have had to take a detour of up to a mile to deal with the bridge closure.

Birrell is confident that Lewallen will finish the job.

“I think we do definitely have everything resolved now,” she said. “Unfortunately it has been an obstacle … (Lewallen) have been on site with staff and reviewed everything. They assure us that they can do it.”

Commissioners will also vote on authorizing Chairman Tim Lee to send a letter to the Atlanta Regional Commission, asking the agency to reconsider its determination that expansion of the Bankhead C&D Transfer Station is in the best interest of the state. The letter states that the agency’s opinion in its Development of Regional Impact Review may change in light of a determination by the Georgia DOT, on behalf of the Federal Aviation Administration, that the station might attract birds if it were allowed to take in household garbage, which could be hazardous to planes taking off and landing at nearby Fulton County Charlie Brown Airport.

The issue with birds was among the reasons commissioners cited for last month turning down a special land-use permit for the site, located on Veterans Memorial Highway near Discovery Boulevard in south Cobb. The facility is currently allowed to take in only construction and demolition debris.

The county will also hold a public hearing that is legally required before it can go out for bids to hire a consultant to conduct a five-year update to its 2030 Comprehensive Transportation Plan. Cobb DOT Director Faye DiMassimo said that the update is required so that Cobb County and its cities can remain competitive for federal dollars and to address growth and other changes since the 2030 plan was first accepted.
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June 11, 2012
Should have let Butch Thompson Enterprises Inc. do the work.
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