Brown opposes Fairburn’s plan for Hwy. 74-I-85 interchange fixes
One of the biggest choke points for commuters in western Fayette County is the interchange where Ga. Highway 74 meets Interstate 85 in Fairburn a short distance across the county line.
The problem is to a degree that several governments in Fulton and Fayette counties have joined forces to work on it. The result is an engineering report commissioned by the city of Fairburn that recommends several options, including the extension of on and off-ramps for the interstate along with cloverleaf designs that will allow traffic exiting the southbound lanes of I-85 to be able to “flow freely” onto Hwy. 74 South.
Another proposed cloverleaf would allow traffic going on Hwy. 74 South from Fairburn to have a free flow access onto I-85 northbound, which figures to be a win for the traffic from the city’s CSX rail facility.
Fayette County Commissioner Steve Brown told his fellow commissioners last week that he is not pleased with the study’s recommendations, which he thinks favor Fairburn heavily at the cost of Fayette commuters.
“There’s nothing in this for us as far as I can see,” Brown said, alleging that Fairburn is primed to add more growth in the area including a 900,000-square-foot shopping center “as soon as the economy comes back.”
Several other commissioners differed from Brown’s assessment, however.
Commissioner Lee Hearn noted that the cloverleaf exit ramp from I-85 southbound would allow traffic to head toward Tyrone and Peachtree CIty without having to stop. The second cloverleaf will keep a good chunk of Hwy. 74 southbound traffic from having to turn left to access I-85 northbound, it was noted.
“There is something in here for Fayette County commuters,” Hearn said.
Commission Chairman Herb Frady noted that he has personally experienced the backups in the area of the expressway.
“I think it means a lot to Fayette County residents to be able to get improvements up there,” Frady said.
Brown said he wanted to be involved in future meetings on the interchange with other jurisdictions.
It has been discussed that this project could potentially be funded with money from a 10-year regional transportation sales tax, but that decision won’t be made until early this summer, and it will be contingent on whether the sales tax is approved by a majority of voters in the metro Atlanta area.