PTC working with DOT on ‘short-term’ fix for Hwy. 54W

While afternoon drive-time traffic on Ga. Highway 54 West can be frustrating, it has not reached a level of major concern for the Georgia Department of Transportation.

Yet DOT is providing guidance to the city on potential solutions for the traffic logjam, a conversation that started when the City Council, minus Mayor Don Haddix, wrote a letter several months ago asking DOT for help with the traffic slowdowns.

The catch is that the city will have to fund a corridor study before any significant fix can be considered, according to Peachtree City Councilwoman Vanessa Fleisch. The city will be able to use funding from a potential Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax if voters approve the countywide measure in November.

Council added that ability in a special called meeting Friday morning, setting aside $500,000 that can also be used to build local traffic enhancement projects along with being used on any future corridor study.

Mayor Don Haddix cast the lone vote against setting aside the potential sales tax funding, arguing that it would take money away from necessary street maintenance.

Fleisch said a recent meeting with several DOT officials at City Hall was fruitful in brainstorming possible fixes for the Hwy. 54 West logjam. DOT will help provide the scope for the study, with the funding coming from the city so the process can advance further, Fleisch said.

In an Aug. 21 letter to Fleisch, DOT officials noted that the traffic modeling for the Hwy. 54 West area shows a level of service equal to a “C” rating or better, which is considered “acceptable for an urban area.”

The DOT letter also referenced a grade separation project planned for the intersection of Hwy. 74 and Ga. Highway 54, which “was removed from the regional transportation plan due to lack of local support.”

That grade separation project has been referenced previously by Haddix, who has said it would take out several of the shopping centers at the intersection because of the amount of land needed.

In the DOT letter, State Transportation Planning Administrator Cynthia L. VanDyke suggested the results of the study could be used to update the county’s comprehensive transportation plan in 2016. In the meantime, DOT will continue to work with city officials on “operational and signal timing upgrades” for possible short-term improvements to the corridor, VanDyke noted.

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