Bids for delayed Augusta Canal trail project to be opened June 12

Wednesday, May 30, 2012 12:41 PM
Last updated Thursday, May 31, 2012 1:06 AM
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One of the Augusta Canal National Heritage Area’s final and most complicated trail additions is expected to be under way later this year, with a bid opening scheduled for June 12.

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A trail spur, covering about a mile, will include major bridges over the Sibley Mill and King Mill tailrace areas and allow cyclists to cross under River Watch Parkway and emerge downtown near Waters Edge subdivision.  JACKIE RICCIARDI/STAFF
JACKIE RICCIARDI/STAFF
A trail spur, covering about a mile, will include major bridges over the Sibley Mill and King Mill tailrace areas and allow cyclists to cross under River Watch Parkway and emerge downtown near Waters Edge subdivision.

The trail spur, covering just under a mile, will include major bridges over the Sibley Mill and King Mill tailrace areas and allow cyclists to veer off the towpath, cross under River Watch Parkway and emerge downtown near Waters Edge subdivision.

“This one has taken a long time to get moving, but we’ve finally advertised for bids the last few weeks,” said Dayton Sherrouse, the Augusta Canal Authority’s executive director.

Five contractors attended a pre-bid conference held in Augusta this week.

The project was first planned, funded and bid in 2005, but never started because the canal authority was unable to secure easements to cross the tailrace at Sibley Mill.

At the time, its owner – Avondale Mills – was trying to sell the property and did not want to encumber it with other issues. That obstacle was removed when the canal authority purchased the mill and its adjoining land along the Savannah River.

Last year, efforts to launch the project were again slowed when a series of environmental clearances had to be renewed because of the long delay in starting the project.

An additional delay emerged when officials learned the Georgia Depart­ment of Transpor­tation, which is providing $825,000 for the project from federal transportation enhancement grants it administers, had placed the project on hold because of inactivity. That problem has also been resolved, Sherrouse said.

The trail spur is expected to be an important connector that will better link the canal trails with downtown Augusta and the 13th Street bridge that will help bicyclists get from the canal to North Augusta’s Greeneway Trail System more easily.

The two bridges are the most complex and costly parts of the project. The King Mill tailrace will be breached by a cable-suspension bridge, and the Sibley Mill tailrace will be crossed by a pre-engineered bridge like the one now in use at the canal headgates.

The project was estimated to cost $1.2 million last time it was bid, and the Canal Authority is required to match at least 20 percent of the $825,000 grant, plus finance any additional costs of the project.

Although bids will be opened June 12, it is difficult to predict when the trails could open.

“At this point it’s hard to estimate when we’d sign a contract, not knowing the details of the bids and having to make sure everything that is required is included,” Sherrouse said, adding that Georgia DOT officials will also need to approve the bids before a contract is signed.

After a contract is executed, however, it will specify completion within 180 days, according to the bid documents.

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Iwannakno
1533
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Iwannakno 05/30/12 - 02:21 pm
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Just give the business to
Unpublished

Just give the business to whomever you want to have it and stop the loony bid process where you just DQ who you don't want anyway.

omnomnom
3964
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omnomnom 05/30/12 - 08:52 pm
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awesome. one will eventually

awesome. one will eventually be able to bike from martinevanz to downtown augusta (DA CBD) without getting on a public road. more stuff like this. less duplications of existing structures plz.

itsanotherday1
42920
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itsanotherday1 05/30/12 - 11:04 pm
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This is good news. Maybe,

This is good news. Maybe, just maybe, Augusta is beginning to overcome its 20th century outlook and move into the present. Columbia and Aiken Counties need to continue leading the way to bike and pedestrian friendly venues with more bike paths along roadways and between neighborhoods. The more we have access to walk and bike; the healthier we are and the more environmentally responsible we are.

Tots
25920
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Tots 05/31/12 - 10:40 am
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Great news,

It's about dang time,sure hope i'm around long enough to enjoy these much needed trails...

Tots
25920
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Tots 05/31/12 - 10:45 am
1
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Bike trails,

Dang Soapy@8:19- Now, who in the world would give a thumbs down on that comment?
I also feel it would be a win-win...

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