Highlights from SPLOST V District I Meeting

Georgia State Route 81 road sign
Widening state route 81 in Ola is a major project for commission districts I and III.

The SPLOST V committee met on Thursday, August 9, at the Locust Grove Senior Center to highlight completed SPLOST IV projects and consider new projects for inclusion within SPLOST V.

SPLOST stands for Special Purpose Local Options Sales Tax and is a program utilized by all 159 Georgia counties to fund capital improvements and transportation projects via a one-percent local sales tax. This enables local governments to fund major projects without raising property tax to cover the costs.

SPLOST was first passed by Henry County voters in September 1996, and since then, three subsequent programs have been approved. The current program, SPLOST IV, is set to expire collections on March 31, 2020. The voters of Henry County will decide via referendum in November 2019 whether to renew the program and extend collections an additional six years.

District 1 is represented by Commissioner Johnny Wilson and includes the areas of Locust Grove, Heron Bay, south McDonough, Peeksville / New Hope, and Sandy Ridge.

Completed SPLOST IV projects within the district have included the rebuild of fire station 2 in Locust Grove, paving Lester Mill Road between Bill Gardner Parkway and LG-Griffin Road, and replacing the bridge over Mackey Creek on Jackson Lake Road. Old Jackson Road at S Bethany Road is a roundabout project under construction and building the McDonough Parkway between SR 20 and Henry Parkway will break ground before year end.

There are three stages within each project: preliminary engineering, right of way acquisition, and construction. Often, the county will break projects into these stages for SPLOST funding. This method is utilized to break up the expense and not commit all of a district’s available funding on one project.

SPLOST IV funded preliminary engineering to widen state route 81 between Postmaster Drive and Bethany Road. In 2015, the county received federal funding to assist with the project, which covers eighty percent of the cost. Recently, the county applied for and received federal funds for right of way acquisition in 2020.

The SPLOST V project list will include the twenty percent local match to purchase right of way and construct the SR 81 widening out to Bethany Road. The most recent estimates place construction at $18.4 million for the three mile corridor, and work is scheduled to start in 2022.

The SPLOST V committee will consider preliminary engineering and right of way acquisition to widen state route 81 between Bethany Road and Keys Ferry Road. Traffic analysis from Georgia DOT has shown volumes on the highway do not substantially decrease until Keys Ferry.

Preliminary engineering and some right of way acquisition to pave Peeksville Road between Old Jackson Road and New Hope Road were included within SPLOST IV. Remaining project costs, to include construction, will be included within SPLOST V.

Preliminary engineering to widen Bill Gardner Parkway was included in the county’s 2017 solicitation for federal funds. The county was unsuccessful in that request, and the committee will consider reserving the local match should the request be fulfilled at a later date.

Other projects that will be considered for inclusion include the following intersections:

  • SR 81 at N Ola Rd / S Ola Rd
  • Peeksville Road at Leguin Mill Road
  • Peeksville Road at Old Jackson Road
  • McDonough Parkway at Henry Parkway
  • Bill Gardner Parkway at Lester Mill Road
  • Racetrack Road at Iris Lake Road

Improvements to tight curves or lane width will be considered along parts of Racetrack Road and LG-Griffin Road. Paving Burg Road and adding sidewalks on Industrial Boulevard will also be considered.

All proposed projects will have cost estimates prepared by county staff and the SPLOST V committee will select district projects in 2019. The committee will present its recommendations to the board of commissioners in May 2019, where the BOC may modify the list by adding or deleting projects if commissioners so choose.

For more information about the SPLOST program or to see the dates for future committee meetings, visit our SPLOST V page.

The proposed extension of the Henry County SPLOST program will be decided by voters in November 2019. If approved, the SPLOST V program will continue the existing tax collections for an additional six years through March 31, 2025.

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Clayton Carte is the founder and owner of Moving Henry Forward Community News. The website provides local news coverage in Henry County, Georgia.