The good news: Utilities, Inc., of Georgia and Amicalola Electric Membership Corporation have been making significant investments and upgrades to Big Canoe’s aging utilities infrastructure over the past four years.
The bad news: Most of these upgrades have required digging hundreds of holes in many of our roads, temporarily patching them in all weather conditions, and leaving Property Owners wondering when their roads would be restored.
One of the five key Strategic Objectives in our new Big Canoe Strategic Plan is the “Continuous improvement of all amenities and infrastructure, and preservation of the natural environment.” Each of Big Canoe’s department heads took these five Strategic Objectives and built annual action plans to bring them to life within their departments. As a result, POA Director of Operations Lydell Mack has established a new process with Utilities, Inc., of Georgia to carefully coordinate when, how and where Big Canoe’s roads are patched and paved. Under his leadership, he and the UIG senior management team have met monthly to determine the best approach to fixing distressed streets.
“In the past, UIG management wasn’t getting direct feedback from Big Canoe Operations on the number, condition and priority of the many patches that needed completion within Big Canoe,” says Mack. “We’re now building a bridge between the POA, UIG management, and the paving contractor to make sure the patches are performed quickly, meet the POA’s quality expectations, and are coordinated with our overall paving program.”
This spring, crews have taken care of 41 locations in need of patching. Another 40 are on the schedule for July, Mack says.
“It’s been really important for us to improve communication with UIG, the contractor who does their patching work (Moss), and our paving contractor, which is Johnson Paving,” Mack says.
The new approach means that roads will be paved at the right time – and that temporary patches won’t be left exposed to the elements, which can result in washouts.
On the road-paving front, Johnson Paving this month started its annual resurfacing project that will address our most distressed streets. This is based on an annual survey completed by Dr. Don Watson, a research engineer with the National Center for Asphalt Technology and a 32-year veteran of the Georgia Dept. of Transportation. Crews started the paving project last week beginning with the resurfacing of Quail Cove Drive. This week, Yearling Lane and Morgan Walk are scheduled, but that is weather dependent.
The summer asphalt resurfacing program will include the following road segments in the coming months:
Quail Cove Drive from Osprey Way to Grouse Gap Drive
Hunter’s Trace from Wilderness Parkway to the end
Morgan Walk from Hunter’s Trace to the end
Pony Lane from Red Coat Pass to the end
Red Coat Pass from Hunter’s Trace to Trotter’s Lane
Trotter’s Lane from Hunter’s Trace to the end
Wild Turkey Bluff from Grouse Gap Drive to Petit Ridge Drive
Yearling Lane from Hunter’s Trace to the end
Of those targeted streets, Morgan Walk and Trotter’s Lane will be slightly widened.
Although other streets not listed have been identified by Watson as less than ideal, the POA has deferred paving work on them after learning that UIG and Amicalola have not completed utility service work on those roads. The affected streets – Shetland Trace and Pinto Place – are scheduled to be included in the 2023 round of paving.
Coinciding with the asphalt resurfacing, a community-wide, summer-long project will install street reflectors on every one of Big Canoe’s 88 miles of roads. The project also includes striping every street in Big Canoe not covered in 2020 and 2021, says Public Works Manager Jacob VanSant. As the strategic plan says, we need to “enhance every aspect of Property Owner and guest experience at Big Canoe,” and road patching, paving, striping and reflectors deliver on that objective.