Fayette ‘finds’ money for East Fayetteville Bypass

The catch: Not enough money left to finish controversial West Bypass if Fayette uses local funds for East Bypass

County staff have devised a plan that would allow the East Fayetteville Bypass to be built only with local dollars at a significant savings from the initial cost, but doing so would eat up the remaining transportation sales tax funds, leaving the final phase of the West Fayetteville Bypass undone for now.

The Fayette County Commission is expected to make a decision on which option they will pursue. The local-funded only option for the East Bypass would cost about $29 million, while there is $25.5 million left in SPLOST funds. The final phase of the West Bypass will cost between $7-$13 million depending on the final alignment selected.

If the commission decides to finish the West Bypass, it could begin work on the first phase of the East Bypass, which involves design and right-of-way acquisition only, but also comes with a potential $7 million in federal funding. The construction of the entire road would occur in the second phase.

The West Fayetteville Bypass is designed to stretch from Ga. Highway 85 South at Harp Road to reach Ga. Highway 54 at the newest traffic light just west of Piedmont Fayette Hospital, then north to end at Ga. Highway 92 near West Bridge Road.

The third phase of the West Fayetteville Bypass will extend it from the current terminus just south of Hwy. 54 all the way southward to Hwy. 85, using mostly existing roads such as Lester Road and Ebenezer Church Road.

The East Fayetteville Bypass is designed to start at the north on Ga. Highway 85 at Corinth Road, then cross Ga. Highway 54 east of Fayetteville on a new road path that would ultimately link up with McDonough Road and the existing County Line Road where it would end at the intersection of South Jeff Davis Drive and Inman Road.

If done to the federal standards, the East bypass would cost a projected $48 million. But by using only local money for the project, the cost estimate is pared down to $29 million.

To get the savings in the local-only version of the project, the county discarded the two-foot paved shoulder on either side of the road in favor of a 10-foot wide grass shoulder, said County Public Works Director Phil Mallon. The county also would reduce its right of way purchase to 80 feet, instead of the 120 feet needed for the county’s federally funded plan, which would give enough room to four-lane the road if needed in the future.

Another cost savings would be from the elimination of a second bridge by using box culverts for a stream crossing, Mallon said. The county is also eliminating an upgrade of the waterlines along the road, Mallon added.

If the commission decides to go with the local option for the East Bypass, Mallon recommends having the final design work bid out to a contractor.

One advantage of using the pared-down local approach is that the project can move much faster than if constrained by the federal regulations, Mallon noted.

If the county stays with the federally-assisted process, Mallon estimated it would take about two years before the right-of-way acquisition process could begin.

At the county’s retreat March 10, Commissioner Lee Hearn said he favored building “as much as we can of the East Fayetteville Bypass versus phase three of the West Fayetteville Bypass.”

Hearn said the East Bypass would handle a lot more traffic than the third phase of the West Bypass.

Commissioner Allen McCarty noted that the West Bypass could be built at a later date. But Commission Chairman Herb Frady said he would rather finish the West Bypass first.

There is one option that would allow both bypasses to move forward, which is the passage of a regional sales tax referendum in July. The East Bypass is a project that would be funded by those revenues, which would free up the remaining local SPLOST funds for the West Bypass, county officials said.

suggarfoot's picture
Joined: 10/10/2007
It ...IS FINISHED... !!!

the West Fayettevill Bypass was the road to no where all along! it served it's purpose... it opened the relative's cowpastures up for development at the taxpayer's exspense. Case (road) closed!

wanttoknow's picture
Joined: 10/31/2007
Funds for Bypass(s)

Please go ahead with plans to finish the West bypass as planned and don't reallocate funds to a "half &#^#*ed" East bypass substitute. The benefits for traffic to I85 from the south part of the county, along with quicker access to the hospital for county residents are worth finishing the original plan for the West side. Hopefully, our commissioners are not too sheepish to complete what they started, regardless of the negative complaints of the few who are on these blogs regularly.

I would much rather see my tax dollars matched at a later date to federal funds to build a 1st rate East Bypass with adequate property purchased to expand to 4 lanes at a later time as growth in our community comes. It won't be next year, but eventually, it will come. COMMISSIONERS. . .HAVE SOME BACKBONE! Please use foresight i/o letting a few negative comments keep you from doing what is best over the long haul.

ginga1414's picture
Joined: 09/01/2008
want, You'll Get What You Want

The Commish (Hearn) is the one who came up with this latest game. He proposed halting the W. Bypass during the Commission's Retreat meeting on March 10.

If you had been at the commission meeting last night, you would know that the issue was tabled until the workshop meeting in May. Once Commissioner McCarty presented his proposal, Mr. Hearn chimed in that the proposal needed to be tabled (delayed) until May. I was surprised, as I had expected Mr. Frady to do the tabling.

It is an extremely sad thing when three people can play games with the lives of taxpayers. Want, there are folks within Phase III who have had their lives put on hold waiting to see what the almighty three will do with their property. There are people who will have their homes demolished or not! There are folks who will lose their livelihood, working farm, and land that has been in their family for more than 200 years. Like myself, there are people who will have their property and homes so greatly impacted that their day to day living will be a nightmare. They will never be able to sell their homes. That has already happened to people in Phase II.

You're not just talking about a road here. You are talking about the lives of families!

Believe me, if you had been at the meeting last night and had cared to talk to some of the folks from Phase III, you would know that neither they nor the people from Phase II are living with any of the delusions being proposed by Hearn. They KNOW what is behind his latest game.

Hearn isn't satisfied with just his City of McDonough governmental paycheck. He wants to make sure he protects his second governmental paycheck which is being provided by Fayette taxpayers. That is the reason the issue was tabled until May. The man wants to be re-elected and he is trying to disassociate himself from the West Bypass. How does he expect to deny his "baby" after claiming parenthood for umpteen years?

Don't worry, want. You'll get what you want. And if Frady, Horgan, and Hearn have anything to do with it, the East Bypass will be built, too.

Public Works Director Phil Mallon was there last night giving all of the monetary figures associated with building the East Bypass, but there are never any traffic figures to substantiate either Bypass.

Want, perhaps you could provide us with some traffic figures that will tell us how many cars will be removed from downtown Fayetteville, where those cars will be coming from, and where they will be going. PLEASE, give us documented traffic figures that will justify either or both bypasses. If you can't give us any help with justifying either or both roads, perhaps you could persuade the almighty three to stop playing games with our lives and money.


conditon55's picture
Joined: 03/12/2010
Splost Project List Changes

Isn't it law that the Splost project cannot be changed ?

Isn't this to prevent the money being re-allocated to project or purpose other than that which the voters approved ?

In other words the vote was a tax with a directed purpose. Similar to Tsplost t proposed this year. Project change is prohibited because the funds might be re-allocated to a project or purpose that the voters would have rejected.

Basically it is to protect the voters from fraud or abuse after the fact of the vote.

If the project list changes, shouldn't the people have the ability to confirm the new choice with another vote ?

NUK_1's picture
Joined: 12/17/2007
SPLOST changes are totally legal

Here's the basic problem: you have no idea what you are talking about and are like most ignorant citizens.

There was never some "list" the voters approved when they passed the SPLOST. It was stated for "transportation projects" on the ballot. FC voters signed that blank check and as long as it's for transportation, they can do whatever they feel like with that money.

The FC BOC could come back next week and decide to spend the money on a South By-Pass if they wanted to. There was no list of projects on the ballot, which you would have known had you bothered to show up and vote at that time.

G35 Dude
G35 Dude's picture
Joined: 02/15/2006
SPLOST Changes

FC voters signed that blank check and as long as it's for transportation, they can do whatever they feel like with that money.

It doesn't have to be for transportation. Under a new law funds in a SPLOST can be redirected from it's original purpose if a referendum is voted on and approved by the people. Our commissioners, well 3 of them, Frady, Hern, and Horgan refuse to allow a vote. So the road gets built, developers and land owners get rich, and our schools go under.

NUK_1's picture
Joined: 12/17/2007
Familiar with that G-Dude

That has nothing to do with the original vote for the SPLOST and what the SPLOST issue on the ballot stated or didn't state at the time.

Since the condition-person is trying to claim something like FRAUD happened and has no idea what was actually stated on the ballot in regards to T-SPLOST, I thought it was time for an education. How the FC BOC reacted/didn't react to changes in the law through HB 409 aren't relevant to the point that when the voters approved the T-SPLOST, they either knew what they were voting for (the vague "transportation") or didn't. Or didn't show up.

G35 Dude
G35 Dude's picture
Joined: 02/15/2006
NUK- You are correct

I was pretty sure that you did know NUK. I was mostly trying to help condition55 understand where I was coming from. BTW, I agree with you, the bill was very vague and I believe that it was meant to be.

pips1414's picture
Joined: 03/18/2009
Looks like Hearn's running for reelection

Last year, Hearn said that it was the West Bypass that was vital to relieving Fayetteville traffic...now it's the East! It looks like Hearn's had enough of being only one of three people in the entire county supporting the West Bypass. By linking up with McCarty and Brown and voting against Frady, he could be making a try to change his image.

ptctaxpayer's picture
Joined: 11/23/2005
Yeah--- Hearn the Pinata

All right, Lee Hearn has volunteered to be the electoral campaign pinata.

I'm sure he's confident he can organize the whole Melear's crowd to rally the faithful. Oops--- I forgot ---- they got shut down.

Hey, good luck there Lee building dumb ass roads and telling us "It's my mandate ! I must build these roads ! It is the will of God ! "

You don't listen and you get the boot. Just ask ole Jack.

MYTMITE's picture
Joined: 02/14/2008
Let's be careful, let's be very careful, what do they say about

a certain animal not changing his spots? Hern still did the lil deeds he did---can you say Lester. Maybe he is pretending to be for certain things in order to get re-elected and then throw a monkey wrench into things.

G35 Dude
G35 Dude's picture
Joined: 02/15/2006
Frady Highway

With all of the problems that our school system is having the Herb Frady Highway marches on. $25.5 million sitting there waiting to build a road that nobody wants while that money could be the fix for our school system with much left over for other "needed" things. Our commissioners won't let us vote on re appropriating those funds. And our politicians wonder why they can't get a SPLOST passed in Fayette County any longer.

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