Commission eyes interchange at I-85 and Poplar Road

Thu, 04/09/2009 - 3:35pm
By: Ben Nelms

Like many others in Coweta, county commissioners are intent on seeing an interchange constructed at I-85 and Poplar Road. A discussion at the April 7 commission meeting addressed that eventuality with the approval of funds for preliminary engineering to be paid with impact fees.

County Administrator Theron Gay told commissioners the planned interchange had reached its first step with the assignment of a Project Identification (PI) number by Georgia Dept. of Transportation.

“This is the first step,” Gay said. “Now we can move forward with the preliminary engineering. We have sufficient funds from impact fee dollars to cover (the cost).”

Gay recommended following federal guidelines required for such projects in the event that federal funds become available at some point in the future.

“We needed the PI number and now we have it,” Gay said. “And now it’s on the radar as a project that one day will become a reality.”

Commissioners voted unanimously to approve the preliminary engineering. They added that the county and the city of Newnan should hold discussions on the unfolding project since both entities would benefit from the interchange in the future.

“This is a big project that will be funded over the years,” Gay added.

Prior to the vote, Commissioner Randolph Collins said he agreed with the idea of moving forward with the preliminary engineering, noting that Coweta had a chance of getting the interchange in the past and had foregone the opportunity.

The interchange would be just down the street from the new $194 million Piedmont Newnan Hospital. Though construction is currently being held up by the recession, groundbreaking for the 8-story hospital tower, the first of two 360,000 square-foot towers planned for the site, was held in October. Eventually planned to total nearly 1 million square feet, the complex will also include two 125,000 square-foot medical office buildings.

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