GDOT Budget for Madola Bridge Project Approved

Community, Fannin County EMA/EMS, News

Blue Ridge, Ga – The Fannin County Board of Commissioners approved a memorandum of agreement (MOA) with Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) for Madola Road bridge construction during the Tuesday, April 23 board meeting.

The commissioners and GDOT must agree on the proposed budget before construction or improvements can proceed. Costs for the project will be split between the state of Georgia and Fannin County with the county expected to pay 50%. The shared cost includes not only bridge work but right of way acquisitions and expenses during the construction process.

GDOT recently recalculated the initial estimate of $327,000 and lowered the proposed expenses to $150,000 total with Fannin paying $75,000 instead of $163,500.

“I like that quite a bit compared to what we had,” said Fannin County Chairman Stan Helton.

“It’s an important bridge to the community. The state’s going to be taking a majority of the cost. I think $75,000 is a very good number for Fannin County,” stated Post One Commissioner Earl Johnson.

Madola road bridge

The Madola Road bridge over Fightingtown Creek is scheduled to be replaced starting in 2022.

Construction will not begin until July 1, 2022, or later. The state still needs to approve the proposed project budget. Only once the budget receives the sign-off from the state will the county have to pay $75,000. Also, the expected amount could still change between now and the start of construction.

Madola Road Bridge built in 1956 was downgraded to a 5-ton weight limit in 2017 by GDOT. The department marked the bridge for replacement during that same inspection. Due to the limited usage, these improvements will open the road back up to motorists with larger hauls.

The Commissioners voted unanimously to approve the MOA and go forward with the project.

Next, Robert Graham, Fannin County EMA Director, announced that the county received a $26,000 federal grant to update the hazard mitigation plan.

A hazard mitigation plan is in place to help lessen the impact of disasters through identifying risks and vulnerabilities and developing long-term strategies to protect people and property. Fannin County’s current plan is updated every five years with November 2016 being the most recent plan approval.

Graham added, “These grants are only available after there has been a disaster in Georgia, then the federal government makes this hazard mitigation money available.”

The grant amount broke down as follows:
• Federal Share: $19,500
• State Share: $2,600
• Local share: $3,900

According to Graham, previously the county portion was paid via in-kind labor, and he expects the same this time, meaning the local portion will be minimal if anything at all.

If approved, Graham will have a new plan in place in 2020.

Arrest made in motorcycle accident

Community, News

In an update to an article released last week on FetchYourNews.com, an arrest has been made in the death of a local Navy Veteran and well-known nurse practitioner, Douglas Anderson (Andy) Hyde.

Barbara Jean Caylor Lee, 66, of McCaysville, was arrested in connection with the accident in killed Hyde on February 13, 2019.

According to the GSP report and Fannin County Arrest Report, Lee is being charged with Voluntary Manslaughter, Failure to Yield, and Wrong side of road.

Hyde had been traveling Madola Road eastbound on a Harley Davidson motorcycle. Near Lebanon Road, an automobile driven by Lee was attempting to turn left onto Lebanon Road from Madola.

Lee failed to see Hyde, turning in front of him.

Hyde was wearing a helmet and dressed properly for travel by motorcycle.

He was pronounced dead at Fannin Regional Hospital.

Information will be updated as it is released.

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GSP releases details of motorcycle/automobile accident of February 13, 2019

News

Andy Hyde

It was a beautiful clear day. Perfect for a motorcycle ride on what some consider as a mountainous back road. With the Spring-like breeze on your face as you travel on an eastbound county road – everything seems good.

Then tragedy strikes!

This is what happened to a local Navy Veteran on Wednesday, February 13, 2019.

Georgia State Police (GSP) released the Motor Vehicle Crash report this week listing details of the collision which occurred at Madola Road and Lebanon Road.

Fannin County Emergency Management Services were notified at 5:08 p.m.; GSP 5:11 p.m.

Traveling eastbound on Madola Road in Epworth, Douglas Anderson (Andy) Hyde was riding a Harley Davidson. Nearing Lebanon Road, an automobile driven by 66 year-old Barbara Caylor Lee, was attempting to turn onto Lebanon Road from Madola. Lee failed to see Hyde, turning in front of him. Skid marks from a single motorcycle tire can be seen for approximately 39 feet before the collision, according to GSP Nicholas Akerson who investigated. Hyde was wearing a helmet and dressed properly for travel by motorcycle.

Both vehicles were transported away from the scene by Car Crafters of Blue Ridge.

Hyde was born and raised in Fannin County. Served in the Unite States Navy. Working at the time of the accident as a Certified Nurse Practitioner in Blue Ridge, GA. He was well liked by many who crossed his path.

Remembered by Blue Ridge Mayor Donna Whitener, she said he was a “kind soul who cared a lot about his patients. He took time to hear their needs and he truly cared about them.”

A former school mate named Shirley said “he was a great guy you’d want to hang around with. He was always so kind.”

Another friend was heard saying, “I am sure going to miss him. He had a wonderful, warm, and caring smile.”

Hyde leaves behind the love of his life, Connie Cook; a daughter, Hannah Allen; granddaughter, Andrea Allen; grandson, Liam Allen; his father, J. T. Hyde; sisters,Vanessa Hyde McKeon and Becky Ryan Johnson; nephews, Bill McKeon and Nathan Johnson.

A tribute to Douglas Anderson Hyde

GSP says charges are pending upon further review.

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Madola Road bridge over Fightingtown sees decreased weight restrictions

News

The Madola Road bridge over Fightingtown Creek recently experienced a reduction in load capacity limits.

EPWORTH, Ga. – Fannin County Director of Public Works Zack Ratcliff announced Thursday that the weight load capacity for the Madola Road (county road 159) bridge over Fightingtown Creek has been reduced from a 10-ton limit to a five-ton limit.

According to Ratcliff, the changes came after the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) completed a recent inspection of the bridge located near Epworth in early December and found deficiencies in it, leading to the state-mandated change in load capacity. Ratcliff added that signs informing drivers of the new capacity have already been posted at the bridge and the public works department also plans to post signs in the near future at either end of Madola Road telling motorists off the change.

Ratcliff asks all applicable drivers to abide by the new limits to the bridge, which was built in 1956. At present, no short and convenient detour route is available for drivers of vehicles that exceed the limit. However, detours are available by way of Mobile Road through Copperhill, Tennessee, and McCaysville or via Mobile Road to Colwell Road to old state Route 2. Both Mobile, which eventually becomes West Tennessee Avenue in the twin cities, and old state Route 2 cross Fightingtown Creek and connect with state Route 5.

The old state Route 2 bridge at McKinney Crossing is an option for vehicles over five tons unable to travel Madola Road.

While Ratcliff conceded the new change creates an inconvenience for some drivers, the state mandate required the county public works department to comply with the GDOT’s determination for the bridge by changing the load capacity or possibly face a withdrawal of federal funding.

“The option is not there,” Ratcliff said. “(The county) has to be in compliance with the state.”

 

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Jason Beck

Born in Merrillville, Indiana, raised in Cleveland, Tennessee, and currently resides in Copperhill, Tennessee. Graduated from Bradley Central High School in 1996 and attended the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, eventually earning a B.A. and M.A. in English. Hobbies include hiking, camping and fly-fishing. Interests include baseball, hockey and cliff jumping.

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