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Becoming ADA-Compliant Will Cost Augusta Tens of Millions of Dollars

April 20, 2016
Source: WJBF New Channel 6

Augusta, GA – You do not have to tell Terry Gillam about handicapped access. It makes a difference for him getting around town in Augusta. In some parts of town, Terry runs into obstacles. There is a curb blocking his way, or a sidewalk just runs out, that can force him into the street to make his way.

“Kind of rough, a little bit, out there, you know,” said Gillam. “Dangerous, you got to get in the street,” we commented. “Right,” he added.

A city survey is taking a look at where Augusta is not Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliant. The survey looked at miles of sidewalks, thousands of curbs, and hundreds of bus stops, like one on Wrightsboro road that is not ADA- compliant.

“As it relates to ADA, there is quite a bit of work that needs to be done. The good thing is [what] we are doing, especially with some of the TIA projects that are ongoing,” said Augusta Engineering Services Department director Abie Ladson.

According to the survey, the estimated cost to get compliant in the high priority area, which is mainly downtown, would cost in excess of $31 million.

There are T-SPLOST projects for those areas that would pay $8.2 million, leaving another $23 million in needed funding.

“When you have vast infrastructure issues, like ADA, sidewalks, and those types of things, it is very expensive,” said Ladson.

And, talk about how expensive? The survey estimates the cost of getting the city totally ADA-compliant at $100 million.

“It would not happen overnight, it would take 20 or 30 years for some of those things to take place,” said Ladson, who added that city leaders, later this year, will adopt a plan to prioritize the projects to fix the ADA-compliance issues, and approve a schedule to complete the federally required modifications.

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