Barn Swallow nests halt Brownwood bridge project
By Michael Prochaska
The replacement of a Brownwood Road bridge that runs above Big Indian Creek has been postponed until September due to the discovery of two families of barn swallows living beneath the bridge.
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), barn swallows are a federally protected species of birds. The EPA notified the Georgia Department of Transportation (DOT) last month about postponing the construction until the end of the birds’ nesting season. An $854,000 contract for the federally funded replacement was awarded to Rogers Bridge Company in March.
At a Board of Commissioners meeting July 3, County Attorney Christian Henry informed the board that a parcel of land near the bridge requires fencing for cows. DOT agreed to install temporary fencing with three strands of barbwire, Henry said, but the fence would require a minimum of four strands.
The county agreed to a contract with Celebrity Fence Co out of Ellenwood, Ga. to install a fourth line of barbwire at 70 cents a foot for a total of 3,000 feet, despite some criticism about the cost.
“I would have done it for 20 cents a foot,” said Commissioner Ellen Warren. “The whole deal should not have been more than $1,000.”
The board also voted to officially abandon a county road between Crawley Road and McHenry Crossing following a public hearing. A request had been made by adjacent property owner Douglas Mundrick to close a road that had “unofficially” been closed since February 1994, according to County Planning Director Chuck Jarrell. In essence, the .12-mile road has been closed in reality but not in paper, he said. Mundrick said he intends to develop a horse farm at the property. County Attorney Christian Henry said he received a call from another neighboring property owner who was also in support of the closure. Jarrell said that there was a mass abandonment of roads in 2008 but there are some additional roads to look at for future closing as well.
The board voted to approve the Hazard Mitigation Plan, a 77-page disaster and emergency guide prompted by the Disaster Mitigation Act of 2000.
The plan thoroughly covers such emergencies as drought, wildfire, flooding, severe thunderstorms, tornados and hazardous material spills.
Under the provisions of the plan, Morgan County will remain eligible for federal funding and emergency assistance funding.
Printed in the July 12, 2012 edition