County Commission may shift money from west bypass to east bypass

Fayette County transportation officials are recommending that up to $12.8 million in potential federal funds be shifted away from the West Fayetteville Bypass to the proposed East Fayetteville Bypass, if the regional T-SPLOST fails at the polls July 31.

The suggestion will be taken up for a vote of the Fayette County Commission at its regular meeting Thursday, July 26, at 7 p.m. at the county’s Stonewall government complex in downtown Fayetteville.

If the regional T-SPLOST fails, the east bypass is in danger of not happening in the near future due to a lack of funds. It is fully-funded in the July 31 regional T-SPLOST vote with nearly a dozen other major road projects that would be undertaken with proceeds from the proposed 10-year tax.

Meanwhile, a move is afoot to scale back the third phase of the west bypass by ditching a continuous road path in favor of intersection improvements including turn lanes and the like. It is also possible the west bypass may terminate at Redwine Road instead of Ga. Highway 85 at Harp Road south of Fayetteville.

If the scope is reduced for the third phase of the west bypass, also known as Veterans Parkway, the design would likely not be eligible for federal funding, county officials have said.

Work is already underway on the second phase of the west bypass, which once fully complete will head northward from Redwine Road up to Ga. Highway 54 just west of Piedmont Fayette Hospital and on to Ga. Highway 92 at Westbridge Road some distance north of Fayetteville.

The east bypass is planned to stretch from Ga. Highway 85 north of Fayetteville along Corinth Road to Ga. Highway 54 and then onto a new road section leading to McDonough Road (Truett Cathy Highway) and then County Line Road where it would end at the intersection of South Jeff Davis Drive and Inman Road.

At Thursday night’s meeting, the commission is expected to make several other spending decisions on the west bypass project: approval of an engineering contract to design a new bridge over Whitewater Creek and replacement of an old bridge at Westbridge Road over Morning Creek.

The county received seven proposals from invitations mailed to 43 contractors, and staff recommended that the projects be awarded to Heath & Lineback Engineers for $212,193.

Also the commission is expected to vote on the low bid of $107,362 to install culvert pipes along the second phase of the West Fayetteville Bypass. Two other companies bid the same project at $127,148 and $179,977.

The county is also slated to approve the low — and only — bidder for the annual waterline extension contract for $769,950 to Shockley Plumbing. Shockley was the only company to bid on the project, and the county’s consulting engineer found that other companies didn’t bid on the project for different reasons including a commitment to too many other jobs, the logistics of having to be in the area for emergency response and the difficulty of competing at the price point.

The waterline extensions are funded by the county’s water system, which is supported by user fees.