The Fayette Citizen-News Page

Wednesday, April 21, 2004

Rural road paving raises ruckus


Leave Mann and Trickum Creek roads alone, the Tyrone Town Council was told last week by the Citizens Alliance for West Fayette.

Instead of “improving” those rural dirt roads to create a Tyrone Bypass, the council should support improving traffic flow on roads that actually run through Tyrone, the council was told.

At last Thursday’s meeting of the Tyrone Town Council, Tim Preece of URS, the consulting firm behind the Fayette County transportation plan, presented the county’s plan, which includes the controversial road pavings.

The plan is part of a $101 million special sales tax referendum expected to be on the Fayette ballot later this year.

The opposition, led by Steve Justice, told the council it is mainly concerned about the extension of Sandy Creek Road to Mann Road and Trickum Creek Road, both rural dirt roads that they would like to see stay that way, to create a “Tyrone Bypass.”

Justice said this bypass would funnel more cars and commercial trucks into the area and would do nothing to solve the real traffic problem in the area: Ga. Highway 74.

The citizens’ group, which made up a large portion of the crowd that night, opposes the county plan as a more expensive option than a short extension of Tyrone and Lester roads. The group said that the proposed extension would go through property owned by the Fayette County Board of Education and bedrock formations.

Justice urged that the focus be placed on Tyrone and Palmetto roads, stating that by improving those roads would help the businesses located there.

Among the statistics stated by Justice: The proposed extension would be 10.1 miles long with five miles of brand new roadway, while his group’s option would have only a little over half a mile of new road.

“We will oppose referendums and candidates that support this plan,” Justice said. “Does the Tyrone Town Council support Project R-2?”

Councilman Paul Letourneau answered by stating that he is not opposed to fixing some of Sandy Creek Road, but that he was unsure that proposed changes to Trickum Creek and Mann Road were necessary. Letourneau had stated earlier in the meeting that this plan was not a “done deal by any means and it was not something that the town of Tyrone had solicited.”

The other members of the council seemed to echo Letourneau’s uncertainty over what the proposed extension would do to relieve traffic on Hwy. 74.

Preece had previously stated that traffic on Hwy. 74 would continue to grow and that, as east-west routes also grew more congested, travel on Hwy. 74 would become worse, thereby creating a need for a bypass.

The council seemed to be on the side of the opposition for the most part, but Letourneau reminded everyone that the final decision would lie with the voters.

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