Construction could start as early as next week to improve access along Gibbs Road in anticipation of the opening of a new Evans Elementary School.
The Columbia County Commission’s Public Works Services Committee agreed Tuesday to spend up to $474,997 for Georgia Power to relocate utility poles along the road and around the intersection with Hereford Farm Road.
Moving the poles will make room for the $3.8 million project to widen a portion of the road and add a section of bike path. Reeves Construction Co. previously was awarded the contract, and a start date is expected next week, said Hope Marshall of the county’s Road Construction Department.
Much of the improvements will widen and add sidewalks on Hereford Farm Road to Evans Middle School, while Gibbs will be widened only as far as the fire station, said Matt Schlachter, the director of the Construction and Maintenance Division. The project, partially financed with school funds, also will widen Gibbs Road in front of the school site and align the school’s entrance with future but as-yet-unfunded plans for widening all of Gibbs Road.
The school, a larger replacement for the existing Evans Elementary on the same road, is expected to open this fall, while the current school could become the county’s alternative school campus. A hearing on that proposal is set for 6 p.m. Jan. 17 at Evans Elementary.
Also Tuesday, Columbia County commissioners approved the remaining money to help the city of Harlem set up a clock in a proposed town square.
During the county commission’s Management and Financial Services Committee meeting, commissioners agreed to use $6,000 in sales tax money to help pay for the $60,000 clock.
Most of the expense – $40,000 – is being paid by the Clary Family Foundation, with $10,000 from the city of Harlem and $4,000 in other private donations.
The clock will be the centerpiece of a square that includes recognition of the city’s past mayors, including Edgar Clary, for whom the foundation is named.
“I think it will be a nice gathering place for the citizens of Harlem and Columbia County,” District 4 Commissioner Bill Morris said.