Back from the dead: East F’ville Bypass
Shelved for the controversial West Bypass, $39.4M project finds new federal, state funds
Adopting a new strategy, Fayette County staff is projecting to have enough money left from the 2003 transportation sales tax to complete the proposed East Fayetteville Bypass.
The project will hinge, however, on receiving state and federal funds to the tune of $21.1 million, Fayette County Public Works Director Phil Mallon explained to the county commission at its workshop meeting Friday afternoon.
The project’s entire cost is estimated at $39.4 million, and it will start along County Line Road at Jeff Davis Drive, then proceed northeast along a new road through the Links golf course to Ga. Highway 54. From there it will continue on Corinth Road to Ga. Highway 85 North, coming in just south of Ga. Highway 279.
County staff is recommending that the section involving County Line Road be four lanes to accommodate all the individual parcels in the area that have access to the road.
The commission will need to make a decision soon on the fate of the East bypass, as the Atlanta Regional Commission wants to know if it will use the $7 million in federal and state funds earmarked so far for the project.
There has been a public clamor for the East Fayetteville Bypass to be built, chiefly among opponents of the West Fayetteville Bypass who have alleged that the East Bypass was determined to be the county’s top priority several years prior to the passage of the 2003 transportation sales tax.
Commissioner Lee Hearn pointed out that the shift in funding philosophy could endanger the third phase of the West Fayetteville Bypass, which would also become dependent on state and federal funding.
County Manager Jack Krakeel noted that the third phase of the West Bypass has a significant amount of state and federal money set aside in the region’s long-range plans even though the project won’t need quite as much.
The project will need about $6 million, even though its projected to get about $23 million in grant funding, Krakeel noted.
Since it will be cheaper than planned, the county “will be in a good position to get that money programmed,” Krakeel said.
Mallon also suggested the third phase of the West Bypass would be an excellent candidate for the proposed regional transportation sales tax project list for further potential funding.
The third phase of the West Bypass will reach from Ga. Highway 85 at Harp Road, along a new road path to reach Ebenezer Church Road at its intersection with Redwine Road, and then along Ebenezer Church Road and finally along Lester Road.
Because the northernmost portion of the project is near Cleveland Elementary School and Bennett’s Mill Middle School, the county is looking at perhaps installing a tunnel to accommodate pedestrians going to the school instead of having them cross on the road itself.