West Bypass Part 1 nearing finish

Sweat glistens on workers raking asphalt on Phase 1 of the West Fayetteville Bypass just feet away from the bypass intersection at Ga. Highway 54 west of Piedmont Fayette Hospital. Once the Hwy. 54 work is completed and Lester Road is wrapped in to the south, it will be a matter of installing the mast structures that will hold the traffic signals at Hwy. 54. The entire Phase 1 project from Sandy Creek Road to Lester Road should be completed by the end of the year. Photo/Ben Nelms.

1st phase may be complete by year’s end; permits pending for 2nd phase

Despite playing a major role in the upset victories of two West Fayetteville Bypass opponents over County Commission incumbents, the controversial paving project keeps chugging along as if the election never happened.

In recent weeks the West Fayetteville Bypass has popped up on the radar screen of many local motorists as work began on the intersection of Ga. Highway 54 and Huiet Road, which is where the first phase of the bypass begins.

The first phase runs from the realigned Huiet Road northward to Sandy Creek Road, and work on the project is expected to be wrapped up by December, said Fayette County Public Works Director Phil Mallon.

Motorists will see most construction work wrapping up in the area in about three weeks as the waiting process continues for the traffic signal mast arms for the intersection of Hwy. 54 and the bypass. That equipment has to be specially manufactured for the project, Mallon said.

The light installation will be the last portion of the first phase to be completed. In the meantime, the connection at Sandy Creek Road is being delayed until the project is closer to being open for traffic to avoid unnecessary stops and turns for vehicles on Sandy Creek Road, Mallon said.

Meanwhile, design continues on the second phase of the bypass, which will run from the end of the first phase at Sandy Creek Road to the north and west where it will end at Ga. Highway 92 and West Bridge Road in north-central Fayette County near the Fulton County line and just south of Union City. Hwy. 92 passes over Interstate 85, but there will be no direct ramp access to the interstate at that point.

Mallon estimated the design work is about 75 percent complete. Land acquisition for the second phase has been put on hold until the road design is approved by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Mallon said.

The Corps of Engineers approval is expected to occur late in the summer or early fall, he said.

Opponents of the bypass have petitioned the Corps of Engineers to deny approval of the various wetland crossings that are associated with the project, and that citizen feedback is one of the reasons the evaluation process has taken significantly longer than would have been expected, officials have said.

The remaining design elements on the second phase of the bypass are a bridge over Whitewater Creek north of Eastin and Graves roads along with the major intersections along the route. Among those intersections is the bypass terminus at Ga. Highway 92 and West Bridge Road, a short distance from the existing traffic signal at Hwy. 92 and Rivers Road.

The Georgia Department of Transportation, which regulates state highways such as Hwy. 92, has placed a recent emphasis on roundabouts as intersection improvements instead of traffic lights, Mallon explained. Because of this, the county may end up with a roundabout at the bypass intersection with Hwy. 92 and West Bridge Road instead of a traffic light, Mallon said.

If the county wants a full signal at the intersection instead, it will have to prove that a roundabout won’t work for the intersection, Mallon said.

As far as the third phase of the bypass is concerned, not much has transpired beyond preliminary design work, Mallon said.

The third phase will go from the terminus of the first phase at Hwy. 54 and Huiet Road to the southeast where it will end at Ga. Highway 85 and Harp Road. The initial plans were for the third phase to start on Harp Road a short distance off Hwy. 85, but it can be extended to Hwy. 85, Mallon said. It is anticipated there will be no significant changes to Harp Road beyond intersection improvements, he added.

The good news for the third phase of the bypass is that it will qualify for federal funding, as it has been included on the state’s long-range list of regional transportation projects, Mallon said. While the project was initially estimated to cost about $28 million, a more updated cost estimate is around $11 million based on the preliminary design, Mallon said.

It’s unclear whether or not the federal funding will become available in the future, Mallon noted. Even if the federal funding doesn’t come through, there will be adequate SPLOST funds to complete the third and final phase of the bypass, Mallon said.

The first phase of the bypass is expected to cost $6.85 million by the time it’s complete. So far the county has spent $5.78 million on the first phase of the bypass through June of this year.

The preliminary estimate for the second phase of the bypass is $11.5 million, but that figure will be revised in the fall to reflect a more accurate figure based on specific engineering for the project, Mallon said. So far the county has spent $804,500 on the second phase of the bypass.

The estimate for the third phase of the bypass is $11.73 million, but it may change significantly based on the final alignment of the road, Mallon said. The county has spent $12,500 so far on the third phase of the bypass.

On July 20, former Peachtree City Mayor Steve Brown and newcomer Allen McCarty defeated Commission Chairman Jack Smith and Commissioner Eric Maxwell, both staunch supporters of the bypass.

Brown and McCarty don't take office until Jan. 1, and the other three commissioners have been unwavering supporters of the bypass in the past.

Save Fayette
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I want the WFB

Fist off, we are not getting a majority of the Citizens of Fayette County who feel like the WFB is a bad project. The only ones who keep saying that it is a bad project are the people that it is affecting their property and the people who are using it as a political stepping stone.
I for one think it will help move traffic thru Fayette County. When phase two ends at 92hwy, West Bridge Road will be improved all the way to Hwy 138. Also if you have not heard that Hwy 92 where it connects to Oakley Industrial Blvd. South Fulton County is increasing to 4 lanes and making much need road improvements with Federal Road grant money. Also Fayette County is improving the access to Petters Road that access to Hwy 138. If you work anywhere north of Fayette County you know these roads improvements are a great thing.
Now lets talk about Hwy 85 and Harp road. When Phase 3 connect to hwy 85 where many accidents have happen this will be a great improvement. So I think that the WFB will be a great improvement to Fayette County road system.

grassroots
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Bottom Feeder

Are you the only one who doesn't get it? SPLOST defeated 3 to 1 answer to WFB incumbents =voted out. What are you reading? Mad Magazine? It's affecting all our property bonehead.Nobody wants it. You think it will help move traffic based =on what? The psychic hotline? Got any traffic studies? Got any real data? Any DOT data that will support your stupid brain fades? No one else has.ARC; Public Works. Jack Smith Head; Krack Heel; Public Works;
So how do you know. Connectivity to 92 to I-85 is an $65 million dollar state dream fantasy by Disney or Fayette County Cartoons. That was invented by projects that's never been submitted or ever will be unless Jesse Jackson is Elected President for 3rd term. Vote for lowering taxes and put your kids through a higher education System than tax high and live low. www.SPLOSTPOLL.com is batting 1000/. Dare to challenge us on any tax issue. You'll lose!

grassroots
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Lee Hearn Honorable commissioner

Dear Mr Hearn, I have met you and find you to be honest and forthright. Please excuse my singling you out as not having done an "official" traffic study. I probably jumped the gun and may have interrupted you working in future with Allen and Steve. We just want what's right for our county. If I was unfair in stating there was no official traffic study then please feel free to explain how the WFB was designed and routed. That's all we've been asking for for 18 months. If you have a traffic model that justifies the WFB current route then please disclose publicly and we'll judge from there. We, The West Fayetteville Bypass Coalition have been frustratingly searching open records for 18 months with no results in traffic study or necessity. I would gladly accept your side as a former Public Works Chairman and consider the reasoning as long as the rest of the public was made informed also. That's all we ask.
Thank You,
Sincerely,
Editor-SPLOSTPOLL>

Spear Road Guy
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Unwavering Bypass Supporters???

The other three commissioners have been the whipping boys of Jack Smith and Eric Maxwell. Look at who's done all the talking on every issue and you'll see it's Jack and Eric.

If the other three don't want to get wiped out like Eric and Jack (who had a boat load of elected people endorsing him), they had better get moving on the bypass. Anybody who says the people want that bypass after the last election is just plain stupid.

Courthouserules
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Spear and Spy

Can you tell me if the West Fayetteville by-pass will eventually meet and connect to the East Fayetteville bypass?
If not, why?

Spyglass
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State Hwy 74 and State Hwy 85 run together for a ways..

This makes no sense. One uses a north/south number, one uses an east/west number. No wonder you are so lost.

Spyglass
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Not a bypass supporter...

Not sure why we voted for the SPLOST that approved it.

Not sure how it will help traffic as currently constructed.

The County has much more pressing traffic issues, in my humble opinion.

Robert W. Morgan
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How is Brown going to stop this? And stop what - Phase 3?

I don't get it. Phase 1 is almost finished. Phase 2 will be approved in "late summer or early fall" presumably 2010, Phase 3 is cheaper than anticipated and funded by the feds and Brown and the other guy he tied himself to are not sworn into office until January 2011.

Did you people actually vote for the gadfly based upon his opposition to WFB? Sure the bypass is a stupid and useless idea, but if you voted for Brown you got snookered. He can't stop the bypass (even with the expected alliance with Horgan) and now you have 4 years of a carnival side show ahead of you. Kill all the developers - that's the only promise Brown will try to keep.

grassroots
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Once Again, Heard Admitted There Was No Official Traffic Study

Read Details at www.SPLOSTPOLL.com You can't even put in a traffic light without a 2 years study.

MajorMike
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Robert W. Morgan

I understand that you don't like Steve Brown but I can think of several ways, some legal, some underhanded, to stop the permit from being issued on Phase II before January. Phase III would become a moot point after that. And yeah, I voted for Brown even though it was a hard decision to make. The reason I did was indeed the WFB - None of it made sense; empty schools, feasibility, regional recommendations, etc. until your overlaid land titles and connected the dots. The picture that emerged was graphic and unexplained.

"The 1960's and 70's (and even the 80's) were a lot more fun than this." - Do you mean that it's NOT 1967 any more??

Robert W. Morgan
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No Major it is not 1967 - it is not even 1987 or 97

These are far more troubled times than I have seen in my lifetime.

But, back to WFB, no I don't like Brown's leadership abilities, nor do I like the WFB - any of the 3 phases. Legal ways for a newly elected commissioner to stop this thing are very limited and all involve a majority vote. Now the underhanded ways are truly creative and I know of one that was actually used in the 1980's and proposed again much later to stop Home Depot. Before any land was disturbed, Indian artifacts were introduced to the area of proposed development. Things come to a screeching halt when these things are discovered. It can cause a 1 year delay. It is also a felony as one perp discovered. He got a suspended sentence and served 3 years on probation before he was killed in a construction accident, but he lives on in Fayette County folk lore.

And I'm truly sorry for your lost vote. That vote you cast for Brown will not stop WFB nor will it please you after the first few commission meetings. All that vote really did was send a strong message to incumbents that they can be unseated by incompetents.

MajorMike
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Robert W. Morgan - Not 1967???

Not 1967??? More is the pity. “All that vote really did was send a strong message to incumbents that they can be unseated by incompetents" - While I obviously do not agree about "incompetent", I whole heartedly agree with the rest of that sentence. This is not going to be a year for incumbents, especially if they do not hold themselves accountable to the electorate.

I have a great deal of respect for Jack Smith and Eric Maxwell but they did, without question, bring the defeat upon themselves. Maxwell was probably as much a sacrificial lamb as anything. Sad, but that's a sign of the times.

I can think of a few other methods of stopping that Phase II permit without crossing the line to felony. Some years ago, Fayette County lost (or threw in the towel) on their sign ordinances because they were, in part, watching a building class action lawsuit against Chris Venice / Fayette County planning & zoning rather than trying to bluff their way through. The total legal bill for slam dunking those ordinances was $225.

_______________________________________________________________________

The purpose of fighting is to win. There is no possible victory in defense. The sword is more important than the shield, and skill is more important than either. The final weapon is the brain. All else is supplemental.

skyspy
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Smith and Maxwell Brought it all on Themselves

They forgot who they worked for. They were disrespectful and discourteous to many taxpayers who took the time to go to commission meetings. They honestly thought that the citizens of Fayette County would just sit back and take the cow manure they threw on us.

Especially maxwell went way over the top with his snide remark to the lady that was going to have her farm split up. That pig needs to move to fulton county he would fit in perfectly there.

abeautifulday4us
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West Fayetteville ByPass----Why the Road Mattered in Election

Morgan's Morning Mumblings: Why the Road Mattered----"Robert W. Morgan", oh he who hates Steve Brown, says the voters got "snookered".

The voters were not snookered with this election but by the deceitful backroom deals that Smith and Maxwell persisted in, even after being called out on the road (rejected even by asphalt hungry ARC) by a handful of affected citizens. The rest of us Fayette Countians were moved by the attitudes and not the road.

I am not affected by WFB. Don't live there. Frankly, I would not attend a meeting on because I think Fayette County has already wedded itself to the grand plans of ARC.

WFB matters because Smith and Maxwell demonstrated more than mere deafness to voters---- they showed contempt and defiance. Thus, they paid, even with Randall, Lynn, George, Sheila and all of the other incumbents signing off and spending 50 times what their opponents.

Morgan may like that. Perhaps you agree with build, build, build. It's the road that got the local neighbors actually affected by the road angry. But it was the lying, smart ass comments, refusal to reconsider that caused this election "stunner". Brown and McCarty represent a desire by the voters to stop the general problems rather than the specific problems of the road.

The road may still get built, even though Maxwell said it can be stopped, true. But the attitude of governance from two commissioners will change and that is the REAL ISSUE, Bob.

idk_revisited
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Opening paragraph rewrite?

Despite playing a major role in the upset victories of two West Fayetteville Bypass opponents over County Commission incumbents, the controversial paving project keeps chugging along as if the election never mattered.

There, that's better.

grassroots
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Dr idk

Is that a stethoscope or a hole in your head? You make column interesting but surgery, like lobotomy is needed for you to be coherent. Join the winning side before it's to late. We defeated SPLOST too. Now were going to have a contest as to who to leases Phase 1 too...so far Varsity has best vote. What's your suggestion?

grassroots
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Breaking News; Hearn Admits There Was No Official Traffic Study

This is a major conflict as WFB cannot move forward without one legally. See
http://www.splostpoll.com/ He's no longer "unwavering".

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