ELLABELL, Ga. (WSAV) – Ellabell residents could be on the cusp of a 30-year journey coming to an end — getting Mill Creek Church Road paved.

Tuesday, locals met with Bryan County Director of Public Works, Matt Montanye, Engineer Glenn Durrence of Thomas and Hutton and other staff outside of the Bryan County Commissioners meeting room to discuss the steps toward getting the road paved.

“I’m hoping next month at the commissioners’ meeting, Thomas and Hutton can get us a proposal for surveying and design work.  If the commissioner approves it, Thomas and Hutton can get their team out there to start surveys,” said Montanye.

He continued, “That’s the first thing you folks will see. You will see Thomas and Hutton, their survey folks come out there, they’ll find everybody’s property corners so they can locate them, get an accurate map drawn and then they will be able to see if they need any additional right away from anyone’s property.  I would like to say in the next couple of months, you may start seeing people out there.”

In addition to determining who owns what properties, engineers will also have to find where the graves are and if any would have to be disturbed.

“The reason why there is a possibility that the cemetery may have to be disturbed is you want to drain the water.  There’s a few places you have water issues,” said Durrence. “You have to make sure you have the water so that it does have a ditch. If we can figure out a way of not touching the graves, I’m the happiest person in the world. I don’t want to do that.”

Engineers said they are not confident one way or another if they will have to disturb any graves or not, but they have been trying to come up with ideas on how to avoid it. 

Another major step in the process is determining where the center line is.

“We set a center line, and the center line is wherever we think the middle of the road needs to be.  One thing that we’ve got to take into account is where the dirt road is now, is not necessarily squared up with some that’s already been dedicated.  We will try to get it in that area that’s already dedicated so we’re not affecting houses,” said Durrence.

Durrence said the entire process will take about two years to complete with one year to design the road and a year to build it.

On whether or not landowners will be paid for any land loss Montayne said, “That’s all discussion as we move forward.”

Most capital projects are funded by SPLOST or TSPLOST. TSPLOST expenditures include road resurfacing, dirt road paving and improvements.