West F’ville Bypass comes under fire

Tue, 02/05/2008 - 5:42pm
By: Ben Nelms

Mounting traffic congestion is a daily and increasing reality in Fayette County. A move to lessen traffic impact is the purpose of the Fayetteville Bypass, with construction on the first of three phases of the West Bypass expected to begin in the spring and construction of the East Bypass tentatively set to begin in late 2011.

But some property owners affected by the upcoming West Bypass are far from happy over the way the project has unfolded.

Fayette County engineer Phil Mallon said Monday the West Bypass has three phases. Phase 1 begins in the Huiet Road/Lester Road area and proceeds north across Ga. Highway 54 and ties into Sandy Creek Road.

Phase 2 will extend from Sandy Creek Road to Ga. Highway 92 in the area of Westbridge Road. Funding for both phases come from $50 million in local funds.

Phase 3 of the project will begin in the Huiet Road/Lester Road area and extend south to Redwine Road. Phase 3 is a long-range project, Mallon said, requiring state and federal funds to complete.

But Phases 1 and 2 will begin much sooner since local funds are being used. The county is currently in the right-of-way acquisition phase for Phase 1, with a possible construction start date this spring and a completion date 12-18 months later, though Mallon said those dates were probably optimistic.

Also optimistic are the dates for Phase 2, with construction anticipated beginning in May 2009 and project completion two years later.

Sandy Creek Road residents Joe and Marilyn Durden are in the path of the Phase 1 portion of the project. In a Feb. 1 letter to Fayette County commissioners, the Durdens said they were requesting a one-year delay of all construction plans until the county can research all possible alternatives.

They said the bypass will have an adverse impact on the area, adding that it will eventually become littered with businesses, noise and more crime and a resulting diminished quality of life.

“From the beginning of our involvement in this project, we have been lied to by the county and the county has zero creditably with us,” the Durdens said in the Feb. 1 letter. “We had a meeting in December 2007 with Mr. Mallon and our attorney, Doug Warner. During that meeting, Mr. Mallon asked for permission to come onto our property and lay out the engineering markers and we said no. We wanted the county to research an alternative. A few weeks later the markers were placed on our property and we still haven’t seen any alternative plans. We recently received a letter from Mr. Mallon apologizing for this but the markers still remain on our property. Actions speak louder than words. My wife and I feel violated by the county because of this incident. The last time I checked, we have paid all of our real and personal property taxes.”

Responding to Durden’s letter, the Fayette County Board of Commissioners said it understands major transportation projects such as the West Bypass may impact individual property owners, adding that the current alignment is the most appropriate for the segment of the project affecting the Durden property.

“All efforts have been made in the design process to mitigate, as much as possible, the impact of this particular transportation initiative,” the board’s Feb. 5 statment said. “We understand citizens’ concerns whenever projects such as this one impacts one’s individual property and, therefore, will continue to strive to minimize these impacts to the best of our ability, while at the same time making decisions that are in the best interest of the overall community’s current and future transportation needs.”

Plans for the East Bypass are under the auspices of Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) and are much further into the future. A Jan. 31 public comment meeting at East Fayette Elementary provided proposed routes for two phases on the city’s east side that will run from Ga. Highway 85 and Corinth Road on the north side, essentially following Corinth south past its intersection with Hwy. 54.

Phase 2 of the project would begin along County Line Road approximately one-half mile of McDonough Road and extend to the intersection of South Jeff Davis Road.

GDOT projections for the actual construction remains years away, though the public comment phase, now in process, is the optimal time for residents to express concerns.

Environmental studies for the East Bypass are currently underway, though the concept plan is not yet approved. Right-of-way acquisition is projected for late 2009, with the beginning of construction in late 2011 and completion sometime in 2015.

Comments to the plan can be made at www.dot.ga.us.

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Submitted by Okie on Thu, 02/07/2008 - 9:46am.

I didn't know anything about this road until I read about it on this site. I looked on the Fayette County website last night and finally found the maps located under SPLOST. Well guess what, my road is going to be part of the bypass! It starts on HWY54 just above the hospital, goes behind the hospital swings around and comes out near Hood Road on Sandy Creek. You drive a little ways down Sandy Creek and go straight on my road, Tillman Road. Once you pass my house, the road doesn't take the turn on Tillman, it goes straight across the field and then crosses Eastin Road. From the map it looks like it goes through some back yards in Yates Crossing. It continues going straight and crosses Lee's Mill Road. Go a little farther then it veers to the right to come into HWY 92 near Westbridge Road. I don't know about any one else, but I have no reason to go that way to get any where. I've lived on this quiet little gravel road in the country for almost 15 years, then somebody says, Hey let's make it a short cut so these people will be miserable, they've been happy for too long! Why don't they put the bypass in their front yards!!! The website address is www.fayettecountyga.gov/ click on SPLOST and then go to the bottom of the page. It lists current projects, click on those to go to the maps. The Sandy Creek ByPass is only a two lane road to HWY 92.

eodnnaenaj1's picture
Submitted by eodnnaenaj1 on Thu, 02/07/2008 - 10:06am.

Ya know, I'm saying the same thing about the East Bypass. I cannot understand why the existing road is not being widened, seems that would be much more cost efficient. Noooooo, they are cutting right through beautiful greenspace. It simply does not make good sense. The road I am concerned about could easily be the existing County Line Road, veer on McDonough Road, and hook up with Cornith Road. But, hey, I'm just a taxpayer, what do I know.

And we know, not only are they destroying greenspace/wetlands, but once the road comes through, guess who and what else with soon follow.

Submitted by Okie on Thu, 02/07/2008 - 10:23am.

I don't know if you've ever been down Sandy Creek Road, but I'm trying to figure out how they will make the transition from Sandy Creek to Tillman Road. If you come from HWY54 down Sandy Creek, Sandy Creek makes a hard left turn and Tillman goes off straight. Well, if they pave Tillman to make it a bypass is there going to be a stop sign, a stop light or what? It's already hard to get from Tillman to Sandy Creek because nobody does the speed limit!! It's 45 mph on Sandy Creek. Just as you get ready to pull out, someone comes flying around the curve. Not to mention, there will be a new elementary school on that corner also. Oh, life used to be good and it's going downhill fast!

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Submitted by eodnnaenaj1 on Thu, 02/07/2008 - 12:31pm.

You are preaching to the choir. . .I know exactly what you are saying; most of this "planning" doesn't seem to make any sense at all. With everyone being so "going green" concerned, I think this is a heck of a time to be destroying the green. All I can suggest is what has been suggested to me, there are handouts available, perhaps something on line too, send them your comments. Until it gets to the point that it requires a sit-in or lying in front of the bulldozers, not much else we can do.

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Submitted by Cyclist on Thu, 02/07/2008 - 12:35pm.

"going green"

Isn't that winning the lottery? Smiling
Caution - The Surgeon General has determined that constant blogging is an addiction that can cause a sedentary life style.

eodnnaenaj1's picture
Submitted by eodnnaenaj1 on Thu, 02/07/2008 - 1:11pm.

How the devil would I know anything about winning the lottery. Why do you think I'm sitting here with Git everyday?!? I ain't working for the fun of it ;^)

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Submitted by Cyclist on Thu, 02/07/2008 - 1:19pm.

You need some sand-between-your-toes beach time. If Git is going to Florida so should you. Sorry, I can't comment any more otherwise Nit$ will launch into one of his little fits.
Caution - The Surgeon General has determined that constant blogging is an addiction that can cause a sedentary life style.

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Submitted by eodnnaenaj1 on Thu, 02/07/2008 - 1:26pm.

You ain't skeered of ole $nitpicker are you! Shoot, I've been known to make grown men shake in their boots and cry . . .whatcha talking about. Let him yap away. When he can tell me of one, just one case where he solved an earthshattering problem via this blog, then we'll talk about the mindless banter. Bless his ole heart.

Submitted by jackyldo on Thu, 02/07/2008 - 7:37am.

There are roads mentioned that are several miles long, where will the road intersect with Redwine Road for example ?

It will Arc somehow across from Sandy Creek Road to Hwy 92 ? As these roads are essentially parallel, where is the plan to leave Sandy Creek from and to join Hwy 92 ?

Is the bypass using existing roads, all new construction and will it be 2 lane or 4 lane? restricted access or just opening up more woods for the developer's saws ?

Submitted by zincc on Sun, 02/17/2008 - 3:40pm.

I would like to know exactly how Sandy Creek is going to be impacted with this. From what I can tell, this new route will take Tillman out and then weave its way onto Hwy. 92 in some weird way. I live just north of Tillman and it looks like Sandy Creek will remain but you can bet the part that isn't listed on the map as being impacted WILL BE IMPACTED somehow. I want to know how, and better yet, is anyone out there ready to buy a house? I may be ready to sell one!

eodnnaenaj1's picture
Submitted by eodnnaenaj1 on Thu, 02/07/2008 - 9:47am.

I'll just take a real wild guess and say that your last paragraph is probably true. I believe the roads are 4 lane.

Good luck with the map. There probably is something available on the GADOT website. I'm concerned about the East Fayette Bypass. When you find the maps you will know about as much as you do now. I pulled the maps for my area, it is in three sections, very hard to read, you blow it up where you can read it, then you've lost a sense of where you are and what is what.

I see these roads opening up all sorts of possibilites for the developers. Only wish I knew how to sell my house for a profit and soon.

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