Citing the rising cost to the projects, the County Board of Commissioners voted at Thursday night’s meeting to tell GDOT they are no longer interested in the roundabouts on SR 92 at Antioch Road and Seay Road.
Put before the commissioners were two items related to the roundabout projects dating back to early 2014 that would require moving seven county water lines out of GDOT right-of-way at a cost of nearly $780,000 to the water system.
Commissioner Charles Rousseau didn’t think the projects fit within the county’s priorities, especially at that price tag.
“Spending this kind of money to move water lines when we have individuals in this community who have asked for fresh water does not justify the cost in my opinion,” he said. “I don’t want to lose money from GDOT ideally, but I don’t think this fits.”
Commissioner Steve Brown made a motion that the county put in writing to GDOT that they are no longer interested in the projects due to their cost.
“This was a GDOT-originated project, this was not a Fayette County-originated project. They came to us. We were told they had a federal grant that was told somewhat all-inclusive,” he recounted. “We said absolutely, we’ll take all the money you give us if we don’t have to do anything. It seemed like the deal was too good to be true, and the deal was too good to be true.”
Commissioner Charles Oddo, the lone dissenting vote, lamented the county turning its back on projects approved by previous versions of the BOC.
“This project has been in the works. GDOT has been working on it for us. The problem that we have in this community is that we change boards much more frequently than GDOT changes staff,” he said, noting that it will only make it harder for the county to build a good relationship with GDOT.
Public Works Director Phil Mallon cautioned the projects could still move forward and at a high cost.
“I don’t know if this action will stop the projects or not. GDOT very well may proceed anyway. They’ve invested a lot money into this so far,” he said. “The county will still be responsible for the relocation (of water lines), and we’ll have to do it on our nickel and it will be even more expensive.”
Commissioner Randy Ognio, also a member of the transportation committee, was not swayed.
“I never approved of this project from the start, and I’m not gonna start tonight.”