Fayette to Ga. DOT: Here’s money for I-85/Hwy. 74 interchange

The Fayette County Commission is putting its money where its mouth is in terms of prioritizing state-level transportation projects.

The commission has notified the Georgia Department of Transportation that it wants to shift funds away from both bypasses around Fayetteville in order to accelerate the interchange improvement at Interstate 85 and Ga. Highway 74 in Fairburn.

County officials contend the right-of-way acquisition has been moved up with funds available in July 2015, and once the right-of-way is purchased, the county would pull funding from GDOT resources “including unused contingency funds and cancelled projects” to begin construction of the partial cloverleaf design.

Construction of the interchange project still remains on the “long range” schedule of the 2040 Regional Transportation Plan (RTP) approved by the Atlanta Regional Commission, but it is possible to accelerate projects to varying degrees, ARC officials have said previously.

The shift would divert some $24.4 million in federal funds slated for the East Fayetteville Bypass and the third phase of the West Fayetteville Bypass. Two-thirds of that figure was also slated for long-range spending in the 2020-2030 time frame, so its not immediately clear how they will be shifted to a much quicker construction time frame for the I-85 interchange.

In a press release from county officials, it was noted that the interchange “has been deemed one of the transportation projects most vital to protecting Fayette County’s continued economic development and the quality of life.”

The route is a significant logjam for commuters not just from west Fayette but also eastern Coweta County.

In a letter to GDOT Commissioner Keith Golden, Brown said the county was OK with using federal funding from the widening of McDonough Road and also the widening of Ga. Highway 54 East if needed.

Woody
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I want the West Bypass.

We live in North Fayette and travel frequently to PTC. To avoid lights and idiot drivers and to save time, we would use the west bypass if it was finished to Hwy 92 and Westbridge Road. Also, it would give us faster access to the hospital. Ninety percent finished is no better than never started, since it can't meet its purpose as it is. So, just finish the lousy ten percent, then deal with other road problems after that.

ginga1414
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Woody and turtejack, Latest information on WFB

We contacted the Fayette County Public Works Dept. for current information on Phase II of the WFB yesterday.

When all is said and done the WFB will be made to line up with Westbridge Rd. Coleman's Store will be saved. However, part of the entry to Coleman's Lumber yard will have to go for the new intersection. Since the GDOT has authority over state highways, the intersection will have to be approved by those folks. Right now, the roundabout plan is no longer in effect, and there will be an intersection with a stop sign. We asked about the possibility of a traffic light but we were told that the GDOT has authority over that also. If you will remember when the first section of the WFB was opened at Hwy. 54, there was only a stop sign there. Then a young military person was killed at the intersection within days of the opening. Many citizens demonstrated at the intersection because of the accident and the GDOT approved a traffic light.

The County said that they could not give us even a speculation as to when the last portion of Phase II will be completed because it is all up to the GDOT.

turtlejack
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WFB

Agreed - The WFB was a mistake made even bigger by not finishing what has been started not to mention the impact upon the personal property and lives all along its winding (and unfinished) path.

ginga1414
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Woody and the WFB

Since that portion of the WFB runs through what used to be my backyard, I have been in close contact with the commissioners and Public Works Director Phil Mallon.

Apparently there are several problems with the proposed intersection at Hwy. 92 and Westbridge Rd. It has been a couple of months since I last spoke to the powers that be but at that time the GDOT wasn't happy at all with the configuration and the proposed roundabout at the intersection.

I hope you will understand that I am not an engineer, but from what my feeble brain was able to understand the end of the WFB does not line up with Westbridge. Therefore, Coleman's store will have to go. Also, there is a problem with moving an electrical substation that is located at the proposed intersection.

It seems to me that if the thing were planned correctly from the beginning those two problems wouldn't be an issue now. When the WFB was first proposed in 1985, that last section would have followed the land lot line. If the land lot line had been followed, more homes would have been taken and a certain developer would have had his hundreds and hundreds of acres bisected. One of our WFB Coalition members just happened to be in the Public Works Office at the time that particular developer had a "hissy fit" because the county engineers wanted to move the road on to his property. It just happens that the developer was a great friend/business partner/campaign supporter of one of our former commission chairmen.

And, folks have been wondering why I have been screaming about building the WFB!

Woody
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Ginga1414, thanks for WFB info.

Good grief. I had no idea of the scheming and incompetence in the design work of the bypass.

ginga1414
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I've said this many times before

I have been accused here of not caring about the folks who live along the EFB route. That is far from the truth. My heart has always been with Fayette County homeowners. Recognizing the fact that there are a huge number of homes along the EFB route, the WFB Coalition contacted many of those homeowners back in 2008. We encouraged the EFB homeowners to join with the WFB Coalition to make sure that the commissioners, at that time, were aware of our misgivings about both projects. For one reason or another, those homeowners chose not to join our group

From the very beginning, there have been many problems with both projects. However, former commissioners and a mayor spent money on a study to find out which project (EFB or WFB) would relieve traffic problems in downtown Fayetteville. The results of that study determined that the EFB should be the number one priority for relieving traffic problems. Not only did the study favor the EFB, the Atlanta Regional Commission and GDOT said that the WFB wasn't worthy of funding.

State Hwys. 85, 74 and 54 are the routes commuters in Fayette, Clayton, Coweta and counties south of here use to travel through and out of Fayette County. Taking into account that there is a plan for economic development along Hwy. 54 W. between Fayetteville and Peachtree City, it stands to reason that Hwy. 74 and Hwy. 85 will be further impacted in coming years.

I can't speak for our commissioners, but it seems to me that the most pressing traffic problem facing our commuters right now is the bottleneck at the I-85/Hwy. 74 interchange. I don't profess to have the answers as to how this problem should be solved. I can only give an opinion.

RWM has very kindly provided a quick fix solution for some folks. That solution won't work for everyone, though, and while more folks are moving further south of Fayette, the gridlock will become even worse.

NUK_1
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It would mitigate the upcoming traffic flow a little

85/74 is all Fairburn and they are all about development in that corridor, especially with the industrial park at Oakley being right next to the interstate. Anything would help some, but it's not any kind of permanent fix. There is no permanent fix since they stopped making land long ago and didn't stop making people.

Coweta's #1 priority is interstate access near Piedmont on I-16. That's already in progress. As far as the most eastern part of Coweta, they already have the Collingsworth Rd route(damn you RWM!)or can just go to Hwy 154 to get on I-85. They also have access right off of 34 a little further down. Anyone in East Coweta using 74 to get to I-85 is simply ignorant. Or plain stupid.

I think extending Hwy 92 to the interstate would work better, but that also means a bunch of landowners getting screwed as well as the WFB being completely finished. I don't see that happening.

The East Fayetteville By-Pass is simply a really dumb idea that does nothing.

It's not you, Ginga, that threw people under the bus over the WFB vs. EFB, that was "pips" who definitely did.

upanatom
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The shortest distance between two points is Ga. 74

Most folks like having no interstate highway in Fayette County. Sometimes we forget that we are the only metro Atlanta county that doesn't have one. But we do have cities like PTC, Tyrone, Woolsey and Brooks that suffer because of unnecessary congestion to Atlanta. The closest thing we have to serve as an expressway to Atlanta is Ga. Hwy. 74. Other cities in other counties like Senoia, Haralson, and the Coweta area of Ga. 54 also use the road out of Fayette, and Coweta Counties.

The worst rush hour traffic problem we have is having to be stopped or slowed by the inadequate intersection in Fulton County where Ga. 74 meets Interstate 85. Updating that intersection would be the single greatest good we could do our traffic.

I can understand the skepticism of those not wanting to get involved in projects outside Fayette County, but we have no Interstate highway in our county to work with. By recognizing that the Fairburn Bottleneck has got to go, we could provide invaluable assistance to thousands of motorists who must make this daily commute.

Thank goodness we now have a group of commissioners who are taking a realistic, rather than political look at our major traffic problems.

One intersection improvement here would be worth much more than a road to nowhere. Remember the West Bypass Phase II that was to have been completed years ago, but is now stalled in the final link to its destination?

Robert W. Morgan
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$25 million vs. 15 cents - you decide

Setting aside the obvious fact that a completion date of 2040 will surely result in a much higher cost than the $25million they project - these things run by the government always do, try to do something yourself that will avoid the intersection, get you to work sooner and make you happier. Go through Tyrone on Palmetto Road and get on I-85 at Collingsworth. First of all, it adds less than 1 mile to your trip (the basis for the 15 cent claim), the traffic hardly ever backs up for more than one light and even if it is red you can sort of legally make a right turn onto the on ramp. Perfect for your AM trip, less so in the PM, but still better than that mess at 74 and I-85.

This does not work if you coming north on Collinsworth, that back up considerably.

I have tested this a couple time with my neighbor on trips to the airport, we leave at the same time and the one who goes through Tyrone is always past Flat Shoals and sometimes 285 by the time the other one gets onto to I-85. This is a real no-brainer. And best of all, you can start doing this tomorrow - not wait 20 years for government to fix your commuting problem.

Besides, by 2040 the real, honest unemployment/underemployment/not trying anymore rate of 50% will be reduced substantially by several Presidents not named Clinton, Bush or Obama and there will be twice as many cars on the road and the $25million "solution" won't even be noticed. Better yet, just get a job in PTC and save time and money by not commuting.

Spyglass
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Hush your mouth..

I prefer that route too.

borntorun
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What Spyglass Said!

Shhhh!!!!

ginga1414
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Fayette Citizens Will Benefit Greatly

We need to keep in mind that when the I85/Hwy.74 project is complete all Fayette citizens who use that interchange on a daily basis will benefit greatly. Commuters from Peachtree City, Tyrone and more in all directions will have an easier and quicker commute.

The West Fayetteville Bypass has done nothing to help traffic problems within our county or within the City of Fayetteville. Also, Pinewood had absolutely nothing to do with the construction of the WFB. Only the undeveloped portion of Pinewood property is on the bypass. The actual Pinewood facilities are on Sandy Creek Rd. The WFB was slated many years before Pinewood flew over the area.

Many millions of Fayette T-SPLOST dollars, not to mention almost two thousand acres of green space, could have been saved had previous commissions voted against Phase II of the WFB. Even if one worked at Pinewood and had to travel to other parts of the region, the shortest route to I-85 is straight up Sandy Creek to Hwy.74. Taking the WFB to Hwy. 92 still leaves many miles/twists and turns to reach I-85.

Steve Brown has quit often said that neighboring counties should work together to solve shared problems. The I85/Hwy. 74 traffic problem is shared by Fayette, Fulton, Coweta and other counties south of there. As our representative with the ARC, Commissioner Brown is continually working through that regional body to solve the traffic gridlock problem at I85/Hwy 74.

johenry
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They don't care Ginga

The natural girl is just another Steve Brown hater. It doesn't matter what the road project is because they fight everything Steve Brown does.

My son in law has to go through that intersection every week day and he hates it.

The foolish Hearn, Horgan and Frady West Fayetteville Bypass was the one nature lady supported so go figure!!!

ginga1414
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johenry is right

Fayette tax money that was spent on the WFB under the guise of traffic relief was foolishness.

Spending local or Federal tax money to build any road where it isn't needed is foolishness.

Spending tax money to improve a long existing traffic problem where the citizens of several counties will benefit makes very good sense.

And, yes, some folks are going to hate Mr. Brown no matter what.

naturegrl
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Steve Brown

has you snowed

naturegrl
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Highway 85/74 interchange

Excuse me, but isn't this location in Fulton County. Why are Fayette County tax payers paying for projects in Fulton County? With all the development on Highway 74 in Fairburn, is this not a waste of taxpayers monies? Fairburn made sure they developed that area for the tax revenues. Oh, by the way, when Fulton County residents come into Fayette County, can we have a toll to charge them, because they cause our cities and county to have increased traffic. Fayette County tax dollars should be spent in Fayette County to improve the quality of life in this county. Commission accomplished the West Fayette By-pass to accommodate Pinewood Studios. Think the West Fayette By-pass should now be named, Jim Pace International Blvd. or Pinewood Studio Blvd.

Cyclist
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natuergrl

I believe they're repurposing federal funding only.

naturegrl
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fedral money

Is Fayette County tax payers money.

ginga1414
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naturegrl, Cyclist said it very well

We all pay Federal, State and local taxes in one way or another. However, what portion of the 24.4 million in question do you suppose came directly from Fayette citizens?

Fayette taxpayers were told that the WFB would relieve traffic in downtown Fayetteville. The same public officials who originally tried to convince us of that premise eventually had to publicly admit that the WFB would not relieve traffic.

Those of us who looked at the WFB map could very easily see that it wouldn't relieve traffic. It did not end anywhere near an interstate highway.

On the other hand, anyone who has ever travelled through the I-85/Hwy.74 interchange during rush hour knows that folks who go through there on a daily basis need some relief. A goodly portion of those folks are Fayette citizens, and the greatest portion of Hwy. 74 is in Fayette County.

hutch866
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And yet
ginga1414 wrote:

Those of us who looked at the WFB map could very easily see that it wouldn't relieve traffic. It did not end anywhere near an interstate highway.

Funny how the EFB ends even further from a highway, yet ginga and her crowd has nothing to say about it. Brown pushes and pushes this road to NOWHERE, and yet, the same criteria doesn't garner the same response.

Brown was elected, according to ginga, on his opposition to the WFB, yet it seems his hate of roads to nowhere is very selective. First Steve buys land for the EFB (just in case), now he advocates spending the bypass money on the 85/74 interchange. Where is the consistency here? Is Steve saving us a ton of money on yet another road to nowhere, or did he just blow a bundle on land that he has no intention of using?

Cyclist
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natuegrl - fedral [sic] money….

is like a hamburger patty from McDonalds. It contains the DNA of a thousand cows.

Spyglass
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IF you do not see the benefits

In upgrading that intersection for Fayette residents you need step back, take a deep breath and reanalyze it.

Woody
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Finish West Bypass

Just finish the Fayetteville west bypass. The land is already cleared and the remaining distance is short.

Spyglass
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SB is your friend

He can do it..

Robert W. Morgan
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He can, but he won't

It will take Ognio and Barlow's replacements campaigning on exactly the issue woody raises - and pointing out all that wasted money used to acquire and clear the land- before that gets done. Not sure Oddo will join that movement, but you can be sure Pota will.

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