Originally created 05/28/98

Bid could delay rest area project



Nearly $7 million in improvements to the rest areas on Interstate 20 in Columbia County might be put off after just one company submitted a bid for the project.

APAC-Georgia Inc. bid $13.2 million for work on the rest areas in Morgan and Columbia counties.

"We normally like to get three good bids," said David Griffith, direct pre-construction engineer for the Department of Transportation.

Even with a weather delay, the rest areas will still be a couple of years ahead of schedule. The renovations had been scheduled for 2002, but were moved up earlier this year after several DOT projects elsewhere in the state fell through, Mr. Griffith said.

DOT Design Group Manager Joe Garland said the work is needed at the rest areas to accommodate added traffic on the nation's interstate highway system. In 1995 -- the last time the number of users was counted -- an average of 1,096 cars per day pulled into the rest areas. By 2015, that number is expected to increase to more than 2,000.

To handle the added vehicles, workers will expand the existing parking lots to handle between 140 cars and large trucks. Lighting and landscaping at both areas will also be improved.

Other plans in the $6.8 million project call for building new restroom buildings, which can accommodate 30 stalls -- 10 more than the current buildings. There will also be a family restroom at each rest area, complete with a baby changing table.