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East Fayette Bypass project to be killed?
Tue, 01/27/2009 - 5:14pm
By: John Munford
The east Fayetteville bypass project may fall by the wayside as $7 million in state funding projected for the effort has come into question.
The Fayette County Commission last week discussed the possibility of abandoning the project, at least for now, and redirecting funds so other projects can be finished despite a downturn in sales tax receipts.
The bypass was planned, along with other transportation projects, to be largely funded with proceeds from a special 1 percent sales tax.
State transportation officials doubt the county’s $46.4 million projected cost is high enough, given the scope of the project, said County Public Works Director Phil Mallon.
The west Fayetteville bypass, however, has an estimated cost of $28 million including state and federal money, and design and construction is already underway, Mallon said.
Mallon suggested the county divert $5 million more in SPLOST funds to make sure the west bypass is built even if the state and federal funds don’t come through.
The west Fayetteville bypass would extend from Harp Road near Ga. Highway 85 South up to Ga. Highway 92 North at Westbridge Road. The east Fayetteville bypass would stretch from Jeff Davis Drive to Ga. Highway 54, ultimately extending north to link with Ga. Highway 85 north of the Fayette Pavilion.
Commission Chairman Jack Smith said he also worried whether the state would approve funding for the west bypass. The state’s issue is they don’t see enough congestion mitigation data to require funding, but the caveat is they only consider cars in Fayette County while this project will divert traffic coming from other counties, Smith said.
County Administrator Jack Krakeel said it’s possible the county could increase the scope of the west Fayetteville bypass to include a realignment of Westbridge Road where the bypass will terminate.
Commissioner Lee Hearn argued that the county should proceed with at least right of way acquisition on the east Fayetteville bypass on the theory that perhaps much of the work could be done by county crews to save money on the project. Because of the conditions of the area the land will not get cheaper as time goes on, Hearn added.
Approximately $550,000 has been spent so far on the east Fayetteville bypass, which includes environmental studies, design and other work, Mallon said.
“I do not intend to spend another dime on the east Fayetteville bypass,” said Commissioner Eric Maxwell. “... This is good money after bad that we could be spending on another project.”
Commissioner Herb Frady agreed.
“You might end up with two partial roads built instead of one,” Frady said. “I’d rather build the west bypass for sure instead of take a chance with one.”
Mallon said he would be getting updated cost information and other background data on both projects before the commission makes a final decision.
Other SPLOST projects are being recommended to be put on hold. The widening of Tyrone-Palmetto Road, for example, loses some of its value if Coweta County doesn’t agree to extend the widening from its county line to Interstate 85, Mallon noted.
“Right now they’re not saying no but they’re sure not saying it’s their highest priority now,” Mallon said.
Delaying that project will save an estimated $23 million that can be spent on other SPLOST projects, including five bridge improvement projects and seven intersection improvements in the unincorporated county, Mallon said.
Also eliminated is a project to extend Sandy Creek Road, as a new subdivision directly across the road on Ga. Highway 74 North basically precludes the project from occurring, Mallon indicated.login to post comments