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County manager addresses roads during club talk
Tim Callanan
County Manager Tim Callanan and Exchange Club of Effingham County pose after the March 4 meeting at the Effingham County Recreation and Parks Department in Springfield. - photo by Photo submitted

SPRINGFIELD — County Manager Tim Callanan eased into his address during the March 4 meeting of the Exchange Club of Effingham County in a joking fashion.

Before launching into a discussion of T-SPLOST, a proposed sales tax for transportation purposes, he touched on another subject of interest to the club.

“Of course, you all know we have purchased a new administrative building,” he said. “I guess they made you move? The bank did?

“Well, we will see if we can fix it.”

The Effingham County Board of Commissioners recently purchased Springfield’s Renasant Bank building — the longtime home of Exchange Club meetings — with the intent of moving many of its offices there. 

“We’d love to go back there,” said Yvette Carr, a former club president.

Callanan said plans are ongoing for the November T-SPLOST referendum. Voters will be asked to approve a penny sales tax that has been projected to generate $42 million over five years for road improvements.

The money would be distributed among the county and its municipalities based on population.  

“Each of the municipalities and the county will come up with their own list of roads that they want to address with T-SPLOST funds,” he said.

Callanan said the county is testing a method to repair its busiest ash roads. He described it as a "less expensive but effective way." It involves reclaiming the ash, blending it, spraying it with an emulsive and putting it back down and covering it with asphalt.

"It saves us about thirty percent," he said. "If we can get the price similar to what we are looking at or less because we will have more volume, it may even be a better product than a standard base of a road."

The test, delayed by heavy recent rain, is set for a stretch of about one mile on Indigo Road.  

Courthouse Extension and Bunyan Kessler Road are also set for treatment. Both are made of ash.

"(On Bunyan Kessler), we tried asphalting over it and that did not work," Callanan said. "Essentially, the pavement is moving and it is starting to buckle, and it's becoming very dangerous."

 Callanan said Goshen Road is set to have  turn lanes lanes added.

"Hodgeville is another road that we are looking into widening," he said, "and there will be a bunch of resurfacing in the county. We are really hoping that excess amount of funds will help us catch up and that we really do it right so that we are not going back to these roads after five or even ten years."

Lastly, Callanan mentioned the Effingham Parkway project. The county is responsible for the design and acquisition of right of way for the two-lance highway that would run parallel to Ga. Hwy 21.

"We started with forty parcels for right-of-way acquisition and we have gotten them all done," Callanan said.

He said the county's responsibilities for the parkway will be wrapped up in June at the latest.

"Then it becomes a waiting game for funding from the state," Callanan said. 

 The county manager said the county is acquiring enough right of way to eventually turn the parkway into a four-lane road. The first phase is expect to take about three years to complete.

"If we do a good job with the T-SPLOST and a second T-SPLOST comes along, we can hit the ground running," he said.