West Fayette Bypass path approved

Thu, 06/11/2009 - 10:34pm
By: John Munford

Critics complain road won't accomplish goal ... but will hurt environment

Despite some trepidation from several commissioners, the conceptual alignment for the second phase of the West Fayetteville Bypass was approved unanimously Thursday night.

The road alignment could still be tweaked in places as county staff delve deeper into the project, said county public works director Phil Mallon.

The approval vote came after a number of residents expressed opposition to the road. Among their complaints were increased traffic near homes, environmental damage, a lack of evidence the road is necessary and allegations that the road would chiefly benefit developers.

Commissioners Eric Maxwell, Herb Frady and Jack Smith each denied have any developer friends in the area of the bypass.

The second phase of the bypass will start on Sandy Creek road near the new Rivers Elementary School. From there it will actually follow a stretch of existing pavement on Sandy Creek before continuing onto a stretch of the existing Tillman Road.

The road will not follow the northwesterly turn on Tillman but instead will continue in a basically straight pattern to Eastin Road before meandering around a subdivision and continuing to cross Lees Mill Road just north of the private drive Mallard Creek Lane where one existing home is in its path.

From there the road goes toward the end of Janice Drive where two homes are in the road path before continuing around another subdivision and linking up with Hwy. 92 at West Bridge Road.

From that intersection, drivers can continue straight on West Bridge to reach Ga. Highway 138 in Union City to access Interstate 85. They can also go north on Hwy. 92 and take Peters Road to Hwy. 138 or take Oakley Industrial Boulevard to reach the interchange of Ga. Highway 74 and I-85.

Fayette officials are hopeful that future improvements could be made to Ga. Highway 92 to provide access to the interstate, but none are currently scheduled by the Georgia Department of Transportation.

Dennis Chase of Fayetteville said he was concerned because he doesn’t think any of the commissioners can explain the need for the project, or perhaps they won’t explain.

“There have been major errors on this project and you have been ignoring them,” Chase said. “I hope you reconsider it.”
Robert Burcher, who lives on Lees Mill Road, said the bypass will not accomplish its goal.

“You have just relocated the problem, that’s all,” Burcher said.

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Submitted by pips1414 on Sat, 06/13/2009 - 10:37am.

The West Fayetteville Bypass Coalition has made requests to the Fayette County Commissioners three times to be provided with specific information pertaining to the West Fayetteville Bypass/Parkway. The requests were made pursuant to the Georgia Open Records Act. We were specifically looking for a detailed traffic study and environmental impact statement that would justify the Bypass. This is required when the county applies to the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers for a 404 Wetlands Permit. The first time we made the request to the Commissioners, we were directed to the Office of the County Public Works Dept. There, we found various and sundry files to search, but were unable to find either a detailed traffic study or an environmental assessment justifying the least damaging alternative route. We assumed those documents did not exits, and therefore the county would be in no position to obtain a 404 Wetlands Permit to cross the proposed streams and water recharge areas under requirements of the Clean Water Act.

Later, we were informed through other sources that there does exist a very flawed traffic study that was done by URS, Inc. some years back. On June 5, 2009, we again requested information relating to environmental and traffic studies under the Georgia Open Records Acts. Once again, we were told we must go to the Transportation Dept. to view the files, but this time, we had only requested TITLES of files and documents in order that we might determine those considered by the Commissioners in approving the project. Since we DID NOT consider the county's response legally sufficient in terms of identifying files, we made a second request on June 9 that that the county reconsider its response as legally insufficient to the scope of information requested. We explained that the county had an obligation to identify the documents as the federal government does when Freedom of Information requests are received. We requested the first response within three days, but never received any acknowledgment to the second June request, which we also specified as 3 days, the response time allowed by law.

Just before the commissioners meeting on June 11, 2009 about twenty-five of our members delivered individual requests for the Commissioners to postpone their decision on the final route until our request for the records pertaining to environmental and traffic studies was granted. Also, Mr. Steve Smithfield of our group requested the same information during the Public Comment period of the meeting, and specifically pointed out that all of the many public comments made relating to the bypass at Commissioners meetings had been negative. All of that was ignored.

Two commissioners expressed condolences when the bypass alignment was approved, but at no time would they ever acknowledge the traffic and environmental concerns of the public. We have heard no more.

Submitted by pips1414 on Sat, 06/13/2009 - 11:10am.

After the Commissioners Meeting adjourned, Commissioner Lee Hearn approached Mr. Smithfield and told him he would sit down with him and discuss any concerns Mr. he had over the justification of the project. Mr. Hearn was formerly the Director of Public Works for Fayette County. He explained that, as former Director of Public Works, he had worked extensively on the project for many years before it was approved under SPLOST. He referred to a URS study, but nothing else in particular. Mr. Smithfield told Mr. Hearn that he would talk to the other Coalition members and get back to him. At this point, it nows appears that anyone wanting detailed information regarding the development, justification, and approval of the project should contact Commissioner Hearn, and not the Board of Commissioners.

Mr. Dennis Chase tried, as he has repeatedly done, to get the Commissioners to acknowledge that the public needs an explanation as to why the Bypass Project
is needed from a traffic and environmental perspective. When the Commissioners once again failed to respond, Mr. Chase stated that he has had extensive experience with 404 Wetland Permits, and never in his many years as a government environmental biologist, had he encountered such an uncooperative group of public officials as the Fayette County Commissioners

Woody's picture
Submitted by Woody on Sat, 06/13/2009 - 9:47am.

I wish they could move the bypass several miles over and take it straight through the house of my trashy neighbor, who painted her house yellowish-green and Pepto Bismol pink, and then route it over another neighbor who parks his truck in his yard -- or take mine so that I can move to a better neighborhood.

Submitted by hog4fun62 on Fri, 06/12/2009 - 1:57pm.

I live close to but not on the proposed bypass route. The major concern I have is there are at least 3 elementary/middle schools ON the bypass route. Creating a "High-speed" bypass through three school zones is ludacrous, at best. How many children will be put in harms way to make some politician's legacy come true?

1and1isnt3's picture
Submitted by 1and1isnt3 on Sun, 06/14/2009 - 8:20am.

Except how fast our tax dollars disappear. This is just another two lane road project that will do nothing to ease traffic in Fayetteville. I-285 is a bypass, a multi-lane limited access road that, in theory, was quicker than going straight through the city. Trouble is whenever you build a road around here the developers build more 'stuff' and the added traffic is worse than the original problem.
It appears the only reason one of the schools you are worried about was built is to support this new growth that everyone knows is coming.

DarthDubious's picture
Submitted by DarthDubious on Fri, 06/12/2009 - 12:30pm.

It doesn't matter who is in office! The city gets FED funds for doing this. This road is being built so that when the time comes (during a quarantine due to "swine" flu perhaps), the city can be locked down.

In Liberty,


Submitted by Bonkers on Fri, 06/12/2009 - 12:52pm.

I keep seeing where some few people do not want the by-pass.

Is this a group who own property in Fayetteville, or stores?
Or, is it a few who own a little property on the by-pass?

I can't think of any other reason to be against it.

PTC sure needs a bypass for 54/74 although I suppose the merchants in that area would kill it if possible.

Submitted by Okie on Fri, 06/12/2009 - 1:48pm.

Well, I fit into your category. One of those people who own property on the bypass! I'll be happy to sell you our little piece of heaven! It'll come complete with a bypass in the front yard!

Submitted by youhavetosmokep... on Sun, 06/14/2009 - 11:17am.

I wouldnt mind that, then i might could then drive faster on my road.

If you don't like it then move

Submitted by Arf on Thu, 06/11/2009 - 10:56pm.

Damn shame. But this waste is what we have come to expect from government at all levels, top to bottom. Trouble is, they expect us to pay for this kind of madness and it's getting tough when you don't have a job any longer.

Fayetteville is already gone, PTC is going downhill fast and this bypass will just create more headaches county wide. It's hard loving to call it home anymore.

suggarfoot's picture
Submitted by suggarfoot on Fri, 06/12/2009 - 8:50am.

The only thing they ...could have/should have...done was to get a petition going to get it on the ballot for a vote during the next elections. Going up there an complaining does no good. If you have gotten in on the ballot, you could have voted it down. That would have been the only fair thing to do.

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