The city of Albany will spend hundreds of thousands of dollars more than initially planned for a project at Albany Technical College.
Tuesday, the city commissioners unanimously authorized extra sales tax money to build a pedestrian bridge over Slappey Boulevard. The project was delayed and will cost a lot more than the estimate when it was proposed.
South Slappey Boulevard separates the East and West campuses of Albany Tech. The road is heavily traveled, and is considered a hazardous crossing zone for students. But the city plans to connect the two with a $1.6 Million bridge that's jointly funded by the state.
"This, from my perspective, being a commissioner of that ward, is a plus for Albany Tech, and is also a plus for those students who come in here from all over Georgia to attend Albany Tech," said Commissioner Tommie Postell.
The walkway would connect the east side and the west side of campus, and it would also keep pedestrians from crossing South Slappey Boulevard. The economic downturn caused delays with the project because the city wasn't sure if it could do it. And now commissioners have decided to move forward.
Mayor Dorothy Hubbard said the project was initially allocated SPLOST money on a rough estimate for the bridge. "
When we got into it, it was discovered...or when they got into it, it was discovered that they needed another, I think, about $860,000," said Hubbard.
Commissioners unanimously approved the funding during this morning's meeting. They say the project is long overdue, and also say the school is an important part of the community.
"We need Albany Technical College, we need their students here, and so we have to make sure that they are safe. One of the ways to make sure they are safe is to have a bridge that goes over the road, as opposed to having them trying to cross the road," said Hubbard.
Hubbard said the school helps the city attract growing industries to Albany that provide jobs. She also thanked voters for supporting the project when they approved the SPLOST referendum a few years ago.
The project was first proposed about five years ago, and has also become more expensive because of increased costs in labor and construction materials.
The city is expected to begin taking bids on the project in the coming weeks.