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PTC to make call on traffic study for Hwy. 54 W. project

The Peachtree City Council is expected to decide Thursday on what type of traffic study to order up for Ga. Highway 54 West, and whether it will foot the bill or ask for a “free” review from the Georgia Department of Transportation.

The topic was broached last month as council discussed a developer’s request to add a sixth traffic light to Hwy. 54 at Line Creek Drive and also connect the road to Planterra Way.

The Planterra Way road connection has been opposed by a number of residents in the Planterra Ridge and Cardiff Park subdivisions, who worry about an increase in cut-through traffic from vehicles hoping to avoid the intersection of highways 54 and 74.

Trinity Development is hoping to lure a “green” grocery store concept from a major grocery retailer to the site, but the traffic light and Planterra connection are necessary for that project, according to developer representative Jim Lowe. Without those two traffic improvements, the grocer is poised to pass on the site which would be developed piecemeal.

The site has already been prepared for a RaceTrac convenience store/gas station right off the highway, and Chick-fil-A has won approval for the other parcel directly off the highway.

Councilman George Dienhart has advocated strongly for having the DOT conduct the study because it would come at no cost to the city. The problem with a DOT review, however, is that the study could take a good bit longer than if the city chose its own contractor, officials have said.

Because of the time crunch involved, Councilwoman Vanessa Fleisch has advocated a city-funded traffic study to look at the “big picture” of the traffic backups on Hwy. 54 West during afternoon drive time, as westbound cars can often backup all the way to City Hall waiting to queue into the clogged mess of traffic that manages to thin out once the gauntlet of traffic lights are passed by motorists as they cross the line into Coweta County.

The traffic has even impacted traffic on MacDuff Parkway seeking to turn left onto Hwy. 54 as well, residents have reported.

Several citizens who attended a committee meeting on the issue two weeks ago asked the city to conduct an independent traffic study on the area. Trinity has already conducted a traffic study that indicates the traffic light is necessary; the final decision rests with the Georgia Department of Transportation, although the city is allowed to provide input on whether it thinks the light is necessary.

The matter is expected to be discussed by council during its 7 p.m. meeting Thursday night.

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