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Friday, July 1, 2011 - 9:27am

DOT Privatizes Road Maintenance

A private contractor begins maintenance work Friday for the state’s Department of Transportation on Interstate-95 along Georgia’s coast. It’s the first project of what might be several more to come, in a plan to save the agency money.

The nearly $7 million/3-year contract will be handled by Maryland-based company Roy Jorgensen Associates, Inc., which has done extensive work on Florida interstates. On Georgia’s portion of I-95, it will fix guardrails, do routine bridge repair and collect roadway debris.

The DOT’s David Spear says this represents a sort of “demonstration” - handing complete management of a project to a private firm. The hope is to free-up money - and state workers - in a tight budget for bigger construction projects.

“This is an easier one, it’s a maintenance activity. It’s pretty routine, but we are looking at them in terms of helping fund construction projects.”

Spear says state lawmakers asked the DOT to try privatizing certain projects to save cash.

He says if this goes well, privatizing road maintenance work elsewhere in the state could be in the near future.

“I think you could start on I-16, I-20, I-75 in the southern part of the state, where we’re just completing a huge expensive widening there as well. I think ultimately you could see privatized maintenance of all the interstate systems.”

The exception might be on interstate sections in Atlanta. Spear says the amount of debris and damage will likely necessitate the Department handling that work.