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DOT recommends traffic beacon for 17/Marlow
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The intersection of Highway 17 and Marlow Road may be in line for an upgrade that could augment safety at the crossing.

A state Department of Transportation traffic and engineering study determined a flashing beacon should be installed on top of the stop signs at 17 and Marlow. The DOT has sent the county an application for the permit.

The county will be responsible for the cost of installing the beacons, one on the Marlow Road side stop sign and the other on the Wesley Drive side, which connects to Sandhill Road. A flashing beacon at Highway 17 and Blue Jay Road is on a separate pole with flashers and cost about $15,000.

“I think it would be something less than that,” County Administrator Toss Allen said of the cost for flashing beacons at 17 and Marlow.

Allen added the beacons the DOT is suggesting for the 17/Marlow intersection are solar-powered with small solar panels, so there would not be a recurring energy cost. Funding for the beacons likely will come from existing special purpose local option sales tax funds.

“If we need it, we need it,” said Commissioner Vera Jones.

Commissioners also have rescinded a contract with Harco Construction for the Tusculum fire station. Commissioners approved a contract with Harco on Feb. 17 for $247,000. The bid instead is going to Altamaha Building Systems for $275,000.

According to Allen, Harco representatives asked if they could bid the project as the prime, and Allen agreed as long as the requisite licenses were provided for each person on the job. Before the county awarded the bid to Harco, Allen said a verbal opinion from the state attorney general’s office allowed for the company to get the contract.

But after awarding the contract, a written opinion from the Secretary of State’s Board of Licensing for Residential and General Contractors said the bid award was not legal.

“We received correspondence from the secretary of state’s office that maybe we should have not done that,” Allen said. “I can find nothing that says specifically what we did was incorrect. But I can find nothing that says specifically what we did was correct.”

In order to avoid any semblance of impropriety, Allen continued, the county and Harco agreed to award the bid to the second-lowest bidder instead.

“All parties feel like, to avoid any kind of implications of wrongdoing, to rescind the contract and issue it to someone who is a (general contractor),” he said.

Eleven firms bid on the project, which Altamaha Building Systems has 120 days to complete.

The county’s short-term work program identified $165,000 for the project, which would come out of SPLOST, but should the county’s consolidation with Springfield Fire Department be approved, it also may not have to bear the cost of an additional fire engine.