Road conditions, closings, and delays in Fannin County

Community, News

BLUE RIDGE, Ga. – Dangerous arctic air has moved into Fannin County following the cold front that brought with it Winter Storm Inga.

As the day progressed roads have cleared of the icy conditions that caused treacherous travel situations throughout north Georgia.

Public Works Director Zack Ratcliff updated FetchYourNews about road conditions in Fannin County: “The main roads have cleared up, but there are still some trouble areas on them. Secondary and dirt roads are still really bad.”

“The high today was only 17 degrees, so the secondary roads got very little thaw. A lot of them have shaded areas,” Ratcliff explained.

The concern going into tonight and the early morning hours tomorrow is black ice. “All that has melted and not dried will refreeze. The temperatures will be in the low teens,” Ratcliff stated.

Fannin County Emergency Management Agency (EMA) Director Robert Graham also expressed concern over black ice forming: “More than likely overnight we will have more than a few areas where patches of black ice will form.”

Graham did want to thank the residents of Fannin County for using caution when getting out on the roadways today. “We’ve had a couple of fender benders, but that’s it. We’ve had a lot fewer 911 calls than expected in conditions like this.”

Employees of the Public Works Department will be working late into the evening to help clear roads for emergency vehicles as the need arises.

The State of Emergency declared by Georgia Governor Nathan Deal remains in effect for Thursday, Jan. 18. The State of Emergency was declared for 83 counties, including Fannin County. It states that state government offices will remain closed. This comes on a recommendation from the state Emergency Operations Command.

Deal stated, “Our top priority is to ensure the safety of Georgians and to allow the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) to continue doing its job.”

There are currently no shelters open at this time in Fannin County. If you are in need of assistance and it is not a life-threatening emergency, you can call the Fannin County Sheriff’s Office non-emergency line at 706-632-6022 or 706-632-2043. All life-threatening emergency calls should be placed to 911.

 

***UPDATED JAN. 17, 10:42 p.m.***

***OPENING LATE JAN. 17***

City of Blue Ridge Government Offices will open at 10 a.m.

Fannin County Government Offices will open at 10 a.m.

Fannin County Health Department will open at noon

 

***CLOSED JAN. 17***

Blue Ridge Mountains Arts Association (The Art Center)

Fannin County Division of Family and Children Services (DFACS)

Fannin County Magistrate Court

Fannin County Schools (12-month personnel may be asked to report later in the day)

  • Blue Ridge Elementary School
  • East Fannin Elementary School
  • Fannin County High School
  • Fannin County Middle School
  • West Fannin Elementary School

***LATEST WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY***

Wind Chill Advisory until 10:00AM Thursday

…WIND CHILL ADVISORY NOW IN EFFECT UNTIL 10 AM EST THURSDAY… …WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY NOW IN EFFECT UNTIL 9 AM EST THIS MORNING…

* WHAT…Occasional light snow and very cold wind chills expected. Little or no additional accumulations are expected. Expect wind chills to range from 10 above zero to 10 below zero.

* WHERE…Fannin, Gilmer, Union, Towns, Pickens, Dawson, Lumpkin, and White Counties

* WHEN…For the Winter Weather Advisory, until 9 AM this morning. For the Wind Chill Advisory, until 10 AM Thursday.

* ADDITIONAL DETAILS…Roads will remain icy and treacherous as temperatures remain below freezing all day. If you must drive, use extreme caution. The cold wind chills may cause frostbite in as little as 30 minutes to exposed skin.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS… A Winter Weather Advisory for snow means periods of snow will cause primarily travel difficulties. Be prepared for snow covered roads and limited visibilities, and use caution while driving. A Wind Chill Advisory means that cold air and the wind will combine to create low wind chills. Frost bite and hypothermia can occur if precautions are not taken. Make sure you wear a hat and gloves.

* AFFECTED AREAS: DAWSON … FANNIN … GILMER … LUMPKIN … PICKENS … TOWNS … UNION … WHITE

 

Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that attracts more than 300,000 page views and 3.5 million impressions per month in Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. FYNTV attracts approximately 15,000 viewers per week and reaches between 15,000 to 60,000 per week on our Facebook page. For the most effective, least expensive local advertising, call 706-276-6397 or email us at advertise@FetchYourNews.com

BOC motions to raise speed limit on Old Hwy. 76

Community, News

BLUE RIDGE, Ga. – Residents may have noticed a change to the speed limit on Old Hwy. 76 this week. The Board of Commissioners (BOC) discussed an increase in the limit at the Nov. 28 meeting.

“It’s kind of convoluted, but going east on 76, from downtown to Marina Drive, that’s the city of Blue Ridge, and then it becomes the county’s responsibility from Marina Drive out to the Lakewood intersection where Hwy. 60 comes in,” Fannin County BOC Chairman Stan Helton clarified as to which entities are accountable for maintenance and regulations along Old Hwy. 76.

Board of Commissioners, County Chairman, Post One Commissioner, Post Two Commissioner, Stan Helton, Earl Johnson, Larry Joe Sosebee, TVA, dam, Blue Ridge, Fannin County, Georgia, Public Works Director, Zach Ratcliff, Lakewood, Marina, Old Hwy 76, speed limit, Union County, Hwy 60

L-R : Marina Drive on Old Hwy. 76; Lakewood and Old Hwy. 76 intersection

Helton went on to say, “And then that’s state responsibility from Lakewood intersection all the way out to where 60 (state Route 60) turns south on Morganton headed towards Suches. And then from that point going on east towards Union County, that’s the county’s responsibility again.”

From Union County to the Lakewood intersection, the highway has a constant speed limit of 45 mph. From the Lakewood intersection to Marina Drive, the speed limit drops to 35 mph.

The change in speed limit will not affect the current speed limit at Blue Ridge Dam and along Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) property. The speed limit will still remain at 35 mph in that area.

After receiving calls from various citizens wanting to raise the speed limit in this area, Helton brought the issue to the attention of the board. Post 1 Commissioner Earl Johnson and Post 2 Commissioner Larry Joe Sosebee agreed that bringing uniformity to the speed limit would be a positive.

Board of Commissioners, County Chairman, Post One Commissioner, Post Two Commissioner, Stan Helton, Earl Johnson, Larry Joe Sosebee, TVA, dam, Blue Ridge, Fannin County, Georgia, Public Works Director, Zach Ratcliff, Lakewood, Marina, Old Hwy 76, speed limit, Union County, Hwy 60

Area along TVA property, including Blue Ridge Dam, will remain at 35 mph.

Johnson deferred to Fannin County Public Works Director Zack Ratcliff to get his opinion on the proposed change.

Ratcliff pointed out that the current speed limit causes a bottleneck on that section of road and added, “I recommend that we at least do something to improve that area. I think it would help. That’s pretty slow going across there if you abide by that speed limit.”

Johnson agreed, “It does kind of bottleneck down there. There are still some law-abiding citizens left and that is too slow.”

Sosebee asked Ratcliff if the change would alleviate that issue, to which Ratcliff replied, “It used to be that (45 mph). It actually used to be that. TVA did work on the dam, and they reduced all the speed through there because they were doing the work, and it never got bumped back up.”

BOC Chairman Helton made a motion to raise the speed limit from Marina Drive to the Lakewood intersection (excluding the dam and the area along TVA property) to 45 mph. Johnson seconded the motion, and it was passed unanimously by all three commissioners.

 

 

Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that attracts more than 300,000 page views and 3.5 million impressions per month in Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. FYNTV attracts approximately 15,000 viewers per week and reaches between 15,000 to 60,000 per week on our Facebook page. For the most effective, least expensive local advertising, call 706-276-6397 or email us at advertise@FetchYourNews.com

County to Purchase New Equipment

News

BLUE RIDGE, GA – Fannin County is set to receive new equipment after the Board of Commissioner meeting that was held on Tuesday, September, 12, 2017. Commissioners voted unanimously to purchase a new fire truck and spreader for the county.

Public Works Director Zach Ratcliff addressed the Board about the purchase of a new spreader that would salt the roads during inclement weather. Ratcliff found a used spreader for $7,000 that he describes as in “like new” condition.

Blue Ridge, Fannin County, Georgia, Board of Commissioners, Stan Helton, Earl Johnson, Larry Joe Sosebee, Public Works Director, Zach Ratcliff, Fire Chief, Larry Thomas

Public Works Director Zach Ratcliff addresses the Commissioners.

Ratcliff was unable to get a quote on a new spreader of this size, but noted that one that is new in a smaller size would cost $21,000. With the used spreader only being a third of that price, Ratcliff stated, “That’s just a good deal anyway you look at it.”

County Chairman Stan Helton questioned, “And we need this, correct?”

To which Post Two Commissioner Larry Joe Sosebee confirmed, “Everything we’ve got out there now is rusted.”

After approval for the purchase of the new spreader, Fire Chief Larry Thomas discussed with the Board a used fire engine he had found. The fire engine, located in Alabama, had been inspected by Thomas and he stated, “It appears to be in very, very good condition. With low mileage.”

Blue Ridge, Fannin County, Georgia, Board of Commissioners, Stan Helton, Earl Johnson, Larry Joe Sosebee, Public Works Director, Zach Ratcliff, Fire Chief, Larry Thomas

Fire Chief Larry Thomas asks county for a new vehicle.

The original asking price of the vehicle was $59,000, but Thomas had managed to negotiate this price. The sellers came down on price to $45,000 with an agreement to deliver the vehicle to Fannin County.

Thomas stated, “These commercial chassis are very hard to come by.”

Thomas confirmed that he had received $30,000 in insurance reimbursement after an accident involving one of the county’s fire engines in December 2016. This money would be put toward the purchase of the new vehicle.

The new fire engine will be placed at Station 9 to take the place of the vehicle damaged in the December 2016 accident.

Fannin County Opts for Online Bidding

News
Fannin Court House

BLUE RIDGE, GA – Fannin County Commission Chairman Stan Helton and Public Works Director Zach Ratcliff discussed the possibility of updating the county’s legislation.

Current county codes only allow for used county equipment to be sold through local resources. The equipment must be posted in a local newspaper for two weeks and then a bidding process is open to the public.

Helton and Ratcliff felt that an amendment of this legislation to include the wording “and/or….” with the option of putting the equipment on online auction websites would help the county to expedite sales and open up the process to more bidders.

Blue Ridge, Fannin County, Georgia, Board of Commissioners, Stan Helton, Earl Johnson, Larry Joe Sosebee, Public Works Director, Zach Ratcliff. County Attorney, Lynn Doss

Helton and Ratcliff propose amendment to bidding process.

Helton said, “The process we have now is pretty cumbersome.” He went on, “This is a chance to get us out of, for lack of a better term, the horse and buggy days of auction and get in on something that is more intune with what is happening in the U.S. marketplace.”

County Attorney Lynn Doss stated that much has changed since this legislation was written, and that people look to the internet for their needs. She felt this change did not take away anything from the legislation, but added more options for our county.

County Post Commissioner Earl Johnson showed reluctance as he said, “I have bad memories of going into local legislation. So, I would rather not go into it just to sell equipment or change one word. That’s my only reservation.”

Johnson and County Post Commissioner Larry Joe Sosebee were very thorough in their questions, wanting to make sure that this amendment would achieve what Helton and Ratcliff were proposing as well as be a long term solution.

Johnson proposed the term “competitive bid process,” as this would also give the county the option of live, real time auctions and not restrict the process to online.

Doss considered all the concerns and information that was given before drafting an amendment to the legislation. She also suggested that while they were adding this amendment that it might be a good time to look at another wording change that would allow for more flexibility in the passing of the county’s annual budget.

Blue Ridge, Fannin County, Georgia, Board of Commissioners, Stan Helton, Earl Johnson, Larry Joe Sosebee, Public Works Director, Zach Ratcliff. County Attorney, Lynn Doss

Commissioners debate admending county legislation.

The current legislation states that the commissioners must adopt the county budget at the first public meeting in December.

Doss recommended changing the wording to “adopting the budget by the first public meeting in December.” She said this would give the Commissioner’s the option of approving the budget in advance of the schedule.

Doss drafted both the amendment to the sale of county equipment as well as the change in wording to the budget legislation.

After much discussion, all three commissioners voted to pass these changes as they felt it would streamline county business as well as open up options previously unavailable.
These changes will be discussed and voted upon again at the next two public meetings.

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