County leaves East bypass alone

Bid fails 3-2 to move project ahead of West bypass, others

A bid to fully fund construction of the East Fayetteville Bypass, at the expense of more than a dozen other transportation projects, fell flat on a 3-2 vote by the Fayette County Commission.

Commissioner Steve Brown has argued that the East Fayetteville Bypass was always considered to be the top priority for the entire county, while the West Fayetteville Bypass, now under construction, was chiefly for future development.

But Commissioner Robert Horgan said that since he was elected, he has “never heard” any talk of the East Fayetteville Bypass being the number-one priority for the entire county.

“I just don’t agree with saying the East Fayetteville Bypass is the number-one project,” Horgan said. “I never heard that until Steve was on the board.”

Brown referenced a 2004 memo that listed the East bypass as “priority #1” but Horgan noted that some of the other projects on that list have already been accomplished, such as the widening of Jimmie Mayfield Boulevard between Ga. Highway 92 and Hwy. 54 in Fayetteville.

Brown's motion to fully fund the East Fayetteville Bypass at the expense of other projects failed on a 3-2 vote, with Brown and Commissioner Allen McCarty in favor and Commissioners Horgan, Herb Frady and Lee Hearn against.

Brown also chided the county for doing a number of “smaller” transportation projects with the SPLOST instead of pursuing the high-dollar bypass instead.
“Critical SPLOST funds have been wasted on many low priority projects, not just the West Fayetteville Bypass,” Brown said.

Commissioner Lee Hearn took an exception to the allegation that SPLOST money was “wasted” by the county.

Hearn challenged Brown to bring back a list of projects that Brown feels the county “wasted or squandered money.”

“I’d like him to bring that list of projects where we wasted or squandered money,” Hearn said, noting that intersection improvements all over the county and projects such as the widening of Jimmie Mayfield have impacted a number of residents and motorists who travel through Fayette County.

The East Fayetteville Bypass has been criticized because it does not fully circumnavigate downtown Fayetteville since it does not reach Ga. Highways 92 and 85 south of the city. Instead, the bypass’s southern terminus is at the rural intersection of County Line, Inman and South Jeff Davis roads.

The West Fayetteville Bypass, in contrast, goes from Ga. Highway 85 south of Fayetteville at the southern end and reaches Ga. Highway 92 north of Fayetteville, though it too falls short of completely circumnavigating the downtown area.

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