CAIRO — Grady County is moving forward with a project to pave a major connecting route to Tired Creek Lake.
County commissioners had given the go-ahead to move forward with a $485,000 project to pave State Park Road, the main path to the lake from Highway 84, in a consensus vote last week after their March 17 meeting was postponed, and that decision was ratified Tuesday morning. A total of three bids were opened for the project earlier this month, and the Scruggs Company was awarded the contract on the lowest bid.
Local officials have long eyed upgrades to State Park Road as a key element in spurring economic activity at Tired Creek Lake. By opening the road, boaters will have access to an additional three ramps which County Administrator Buddy Johnson said are essentially “rendered useless” whenever the dirt road is closed, and the end point of the path is seen as a future location for recreational activities.
“If we want to do events and all that, that’s where we would do it,” Johnson said.
Currently, the dirt road is blocked off to traffic after heavy rains and wet conditions, as vehicles can become trapped in mud or tear up the trail. The path only remains permanently open for residents.
Work crews are expected to begin work on the project in June, though inclement weather and efforts to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus could push the start date later into the year. Johnson said that “in a perfect world” the project would be nearing completion at the end of August, but a likelier end date would be at the end of September.
In any case, the county administrator said, his goal is for work to be completed by the end of 2020.
“All of this stuff is fluid,” he said.
The project will be funded through a local maintenance and improvement grant (LMIG) that Johnson said was secured with the help of state Rep. Darlene Taylor and the state Department of Transportation.
Grady County typically receives about $775,000 in LMIG money each year from DOT, but Johnson said Taylor helped them secure an additional $386,000 by getting county officials in touch with the “right people” so they could plead their case as to why opening the road is vital for growth.
“She was an extremely strong advocate for helping us get done so we could get our economic development moving forward,” he said.
Johnson said he expects the road to remain open on most days while the project is underway.
“I’m sure there will be days where they’ll have to close off sections of it during the paving process,” he said, “but for the most part there will still be travel.”