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County asks for help with two road projects
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Effingham County commissioners have approved sending a short list of projects to be funded through the state Department of Transportation’s local maintenance improvement grant.

The county is asking for state funding to help on work on Blue Jay Road and on McCall Road. Under its request for LMIG funding, the county will widen, level and resurface almost 6.1 miles of Blue Jay from McCall to Midland Road and level and resurface 3.8 miles of McCall Road from Ralph Rahn Road to Blue Jay.

“I can’t think of two roads that need more work,” said Commissioner Steve Mason. “If we don’t do something with them, they will completely fail.”

Construction is expected take 120 days to complete. The county is eligible for more than $570,000 under the LMIG formula, based on motor fuel sales tax collections.

“We tried to keep this list short (because) we don’t want to tie up projects that may or may not happen,” county public works engineer Toss Allen said. “Anything that’s on the list, we need to be fairly confident that they’re going to happen in the next year.”

The LMIG funds have replaced the state aid and LARP, local assistance road program, initiatives. The state DOT is turning more toward a grant-like program, according to Allen. Old Augusta Road, for example, is being completed with the help of LMIG funds.

“From now on, what the state will do is they will cut us a check for the $572,240.33 and we spend it how we want to,” Allen said.
The money has to go toward eligible transportation projects, he added.

“They want to make sure the projects we’re spending this money are eligible projects, and they are being completed in a year’s time frame,” Allen said.

The coastal region’s rejection of the transportation special purpose local option sales tax, or T-SPLOST, means that the county has to come up with a 30 percent match on such projects. Such projects did not mandate a matching portion previously on paving projects and a 10 percent match on other road work projects. That puts Effingham’s portion of the LMIG funding at $172,272.16, bringing the total available for LMIG projects at $746,512.69.

Estimates on the improvements to Blue Jay and McCall roads had come in at $2.3 million, but the county can scale back its planned work on the roads.

“As long as we spend our LMIG dollars and our match, we’re fine,” Allen said.