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DOT wants Tyrone 'flexibility' on RR crossing

The Tyrone Town Council heard from representatives of the Georgia Dept. of Transportation (GDOT) Thursday night, asking them to consider reviewing a Project Framework Agreement (PFA) and signing it in early 2010 so the new railroad crossing project along Senoia Road and Valleywood/East Crestwood can proceed. An agreement by the town could mean taxpayers would be responsible for more than the $225,000 previously cited as the maximum the town would commit to the project.

In explaining that Tyrone would be responsible for purchasing the right-of-way and utilities and GDOT would be responsible for the preliminary engineering and construction, GDOT Assistant State Utilities Engineer Mike Bolden was essentially requesting that the town be flexible in case the cost exceeds the $225,000 limit.

Though he was not looking for a commitment Thursday night Bolden did say that time was of the essence, adding that he hoped the council would reach a decision sometime in January.

“(GDOT’s project work thus far) will stop at some point if the town doesn’t sign the agreement,” Bolden said. “If we don’t have something by March we’ll probably have to fold up shop on this project.”

Town attorney Dennis Davenport will review the PFA and report back to the council. The council’s next meeting will be held in early January.

The issue of closing the Valleywood crossing came in 2007 and was initiated by the town after a double fatality at that location in 2001. The town in 2007 signed a Memorandum of Understanding with CSX and DOT to close the Valleywood and East Crestwood crossings and construct a new signalized crossing at West Crestwood to facilitate a higher degree of safety and extend Park Drive.

The town’s project estimate earlier this year carried a price tag of $600,000. But current economic conditions led to the council saying that amount was simply too high, Instead, council members determined to spend no more than $225,000 on the project. Some of the town’s 1-cent sales tax funds had been earmarked for the project.

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