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GDOT awards $118M as committee increases threshold for ‘Quick Response’ program

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(The Center Square) — The Georgia Department of Transportation said it awarded 10 road projects across the state totaling $118 million in December.

The largest award was a roughly $62 million project in Fulton County to widen and reconstruct more than three miles of State Route 9 from Windward Parkway to the Forsyth County line. The project accounts for more than half — 53% — of the money GDOT awarded in the month.

According to a GDOT news release, in fiscal 2024, the state transportation department awarded more than $1 billion in projects.

Meanwhile, the House Transportation Committee approved House Bill 516 last week, changing the maximum amount allowed to be spent on a project “when the public interest requires that the work be done without the delay of advertising for public bids.”

The measure increases the amount GDOT can spend on an emergency construction or maintenance project under the agency’s Quick Response Project Program from $200,000 to $500,000, a change lawmakers said was needed because of increasing costs. The program allows GDOT to identify and initiate smaller traffic projects on state roads without waiting for full transportation board approval.

“We just do three bids, but we can get it started in a couple [of] weeks,” state Rep. Derrick McCollum, R-Chestnut Mountain, said during a House Transportation Committee hearing. “So that’s something that is needed.”

The committee also advanced HB 617, which codifies the statewide freight and logistics implementation plan.

“Across our state, freight and logistics issues are critical,” state Rep. Rick Jasperse, R-Jasper, said during a committee hearing. “How we go about putting money behind those is [what] this bill does.”

“We don’t wave magic wands,” Jasperse added. “They’re all long-term plans, but this will help everybody know where they’re at. It will allow planning for the increase of not just the roadside, but also on [the] economic development side.”