Coweta sends letter of support for Poplar Rd. interchange on I-85

It was only a letter of support for a transportation project envisioned years ago. But the June 4 letter of continued support by the Coweta County Commission for the effort that will lead to construction of the Poplar Road interchange at Interstate 85 is another small step that will soon lead to a major transportation enhancement that will pay dividends for decades.

The Ga. Dept. of Transportation in July 2012 approved the concept plan for the full-diamond interchange at Poplar Road and I-85. Long in the planning stages, right-of-way acquisition is expected to begin by 2015 with construction beginning in 2016. Coweta County’s contribution to the project of up to $15 million will come from the local 1-percent sales tax (SPLOST).

Though still a few years off, the Poplar Road is fast becoming a magnet for healthcare in Coweta County. The eight-story Piedmont Newnan Hospital opened last year on a large parcel of property adjacent to what will become the interchange. And though currently the tallest building in southwest metro Atlanta, long-term plans for the 362,376 square-foot facility call for the potential construction of a second hospital tower that will link to the existing building.

While with its height it changes the landscape along I-85, Piedmont Newnan Hospital also brought another healthcare asset - a 125,000 sq. ft. medical office building adjacent to the hospital that also opened last year.

Another healthcare facility in the immediate area was approved last year and opened in December. The 40,000 square-foot Newnan Professional Center situated on Newnan Crossing Boulevard East and Poplar Road features a number of healthcare providers.

Earlier this month, HealthSouth Corp. announced that it will construct a 50-bed comprehensive physical rehabilitation hospital on Newnan Crossing Boulevard East near Interstate 85. The $22 million investment will generate more than 125 full-time jobs and is expected to open in late 2014. At 55,000 square feet, the hospital will be situated a short distance away from the Newnan Professional Center.

Another project, approved in April, will have a 113,000 square-foot medical office and retail center on 15 acres located at Poplar Road and Newnan Crossing Bypass East. That development will be situated approximately 1,5000 feet from I-85.

The letter of continued support for the interchange project by the Coweta County Commission on June 4 was essentially a simple formality. But it was one more step down a very long road that will continue Coweta County’s transformation into the economic engine of southwest metro Atlanta.

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