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Update Regarding Old Alabama Road Project

March 10, 2016

Old Alabama RoadJohns Creek city officials are continuing to coordinate with the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT), who manages the Old Alabama Road project, as well as other officials to accelerate construction.  GDOT has responded and the contractor, C.W. Matthews, has work crews back on site.  Recent inaccurate reports indicate a completion date of May 2017.  GDOT has now advised that the project is expected to be completed by the end of 2016, weather permitting.  

As the project lead, GDOT is responsible for funding and managing the project.  The contractor it selects is responsible for the construction.  While the City is not in a position to direct the contractors, we do monitor the progress and regularly meet with GDOT to receive updates or express the City’s concerns.  We recognize the negative impact this lengthy delay has created for our residents and GDOT is responsive to those concerns.

The original project completion date was Oct. 2016.  When the City learned of potential delays, it requested options to keep the project on schedule.  C.W. Matthews indicated that they could accelerate the timeline at a cost of $320,000.  The City Council voted against this option and decided instead to continue to work with GDOT to push the project forward, and make the money available for other needed projects.  

The project has faced significant challenges, including weather delays, the scheduling of utilities relocation, and construction issues.  The most concerning construction issue is the discovery made by the contractor that the soil underneath the shoulder of the road requires significant overhaul to adequately support the new widened road, and associated traffic load.  

The original road was not built to accommodate large traffic volumes and has been repaved over the years not taking this into consideration.  A change order to the scope of the project, which exceeds $700,000, requires significant work to ensure the road is built to the correct standards.  If this were a city-led project, the City would be obligated to pay for this change order.  However, GDOT will incur the added cost as the project lead.

We will continue to work with GDOT to coordinate the progress with its contractor to minimize traffic delays where possible throughout the remainder of the project. We are simultaneously working with our state and federal representatives to look into what changes can be made to the contractor selection process, which requires a change in the law.  

GDOT projects are handicapped by the state and federal mandated contractor selection process, which is almost entirely weighted on price and does not effectively evaluate past performance of the contractor in terms of delivering projects on budget and on time.  This approach results in cities being unable to rely on receiving the best service.  We will do whatever we can to influence changes in state and federal laws to weigh performance and project delivery selection criteria. 

The City will increase its communication efforts with its citizens regarding the latest development on each traffic project.   Please visit the City’s Traffic Improvement page or follow us online via our Facebook and Twitter pages for the latest information. 

For more detailed information regarding GDOT-specific projects, please email Annalysce Baker at abaker@dot.ga.gov.

As a matter of background

GDOT began planning for improvements to Old Alabama Road before Johns Creek was incorporated in 2006.  The plan was part of an end-to-end widening of Old Alabama Road from Medlock Bridge Road in Johns Creek to Holcomb Bridge Road in Roswell. 

During this process, Fulton County decided to add a second receiving lane on Old Alabama Road to accommodate traffic from an added turn lane on Medlock Bridge Road, and requested to assume overall lead of the project.  GDOT consented to Fulton County’s request and turned the project over to the county.  

When Johns Creek incorporated, Fulton County halted all work and reverted the project to GDOT.  Complicating the issue for both the City and GDOT, the City of Roswell decided not to widen any part of Old Alabama Road within their city limits.  As a result, GDOT abandoned the entire project. 

Johns Creek Public Works officials requested GDOT to resurrect the portion of the project that includes Old Alabama Road between Buice and Medlock Bridge roads.  The request was made to better address the increased volume of traffic the City was beginning to experience along Medlock Bridge Road.  GDOT agreed to the request and agreed to provide full funding for the project, which began in April 2015.