Another 3-to-2 vote as Fayette awards West Bypass contract

Commissioners Lee Hearn, Herb Frady and Robert Horgan raise their hands to vote yes, while commissioners Allen McCarty (far left) and Steve Brown (far right) await their chance to vote no on the West Bypass contract. Photo/John Munford.

To no one’s surprise, it was another split 3-2 vote last week that authorized the contract for construction of the second phase of the West Fayetteville Bypass, also known as Veterans Parkway.

Commissioners Steve Brown and Allen McCarty again found themselves on the losing end, having entered office on a pledge to stop the project. All they need is just one of three votes to swing their way, but so far they have been unsuccessful with that sales pitch. Commissioners Robert Horgan, Herb Frady and Lee Hearn have continued voting in favor of all bypass-related contracts for both engineering and construction work.

The second phase of the bypass is expected to cost $16.1 million, some $800,000 under the initial estimate. Once the second phase is complete, motorists will be able to traverse from Ga. Highway 54 west of Piedmont Fayette Hospital all the way to Ga. Highway 92 North at West Bridge Road.

The third phase of the bypass is expected to stretch from the current origin on Ga. Highway 54 to the south and east to reach Ga. Highway 85 south at Harp Road. A conceptual alignment shows that third phase using Lester Road and part of Ebenezer Church Road, but a final road path has not yet been put to a vote.

The bypass project is being paid for with revenue from the 2004 countywide transportation sales tax.

At the Sept. 22 meeting, Brown claimed the bypass is a “developer welfare project” but offered no specifics to back up that claim. Brown said when the sales tax was voted on, voters were told the county’s top priority would be the East Fayetteville Bypass, but instead county leaders decided to proceed with the West Fayetteville Bypass.

The county commission decided several years ago to put the West Bypass first because it could be built without relying on federal transportation funds, which stood to significantly delay the project. Had the county chosen to build the East Bypass first, using a local-funds only strategy, it would have eaten up a large part of the sales tax proceeds, officials said at the time.

Horgan said he felt the road was needed for the county’s future, recalling that when he grew up here, Ga. Highway 54 “was just a two-lane road.” He also said that because of the sales tax, some people who lived outside Fayette County helped pay for the West Bypass.

Commissioner Herb Frady said he’s been around long enough to remember when Redwine Road was unpaved and when Peachtree Parkway ended at McIntosh Trail in Peachtree City. Frady said roads were necessary for the county’s future.

“I think some folks are going to have to open their eyes and look at the future,” Frady said.

Prior to their vote, the commission heard a report from Peachtree City resident Bob Ross, who analyzed traffic data to determine if the bypass was needed.

Ross noted that while current construction costs “are relatively low,” the existing traffic studies justifying the West Bypass suggest it would be useful, but not urgent.

Ross suggested the county “stop construction that can be reasonably deferred” and reconsider shifting the funds to other projects. That could be done in conjunction with perhaps improving the signal timing on north-south arterial roads in the county, he added.

The construction contract was awarded to the low bidder, E.R. Snell Contractor Inc., which beat out six other bidders on the project. Snell’s winning bid came in at just over $3.4 million.

ginga1414
ginga1414's picture
Offline
Joined: 09/01/2008
Steele's BIG PLANS For W. Bypass Area

Two years ago, a Lee’s Mill Rd. resident was in the Fayette Public Works Dept. discussing the route the W. Bypass would take through their property. She witnessed one of the developers being shown the map of where the W. Bypass would be in relation to the developer’s property. The developer wasn’t pleased with the route, to say the least. He raised his voice, slammed the door as he left, and said, “Talk to my attorney.”

Within a month of that incident, the route of the W. Bypass was changed to a more favorable position to the developer’s property.

Old Fayette families have owned hundreds and hundreds of acres along the W. Bypass for generations. It was all farmland owned by their ancestors. Some of those families have family members who are developers.

Other developers, such as John Wieland, have jumped on the bandwagon and hope to ride the gravy train, too.

The West Bypass is the brainchild of the Atlanta Regional Commission in that they funded the Fayette Transportation Plan. Now, in an effort to try and justify the W. Bypass, the ARC Regional Transportation Roundtable (Ken Steele and Herb Frady) is considering as part of the 2012 Regional T-SPLOST to either widen Peters Rd. to four lanes or build a completely new road through to Hwy. 138.

MARTA runs a bus line along Hwy. 138. Former Commission Chairman Jack Smith, Fayetteville Mayor Ken Steele and current Commission Chairman Herb Frady were/are Fayette County’s representatives on the Atlanta Regional Transportation Roundtable. Smith, Steele, and Frady are pushing the 2012 Regional T-SPLOST with all their might.

The fix is on!! It involves the developers and the politicians. The citizens are paying so the developers and politicians can play and profit.

Mayor Steele, Chairman Frady and former Chairman Smith have all said it ain’t so. Yet, they have voted and continue to vote in favor of MARTA with the 2012 Regional Transportation SPLOST. MARTA wants to get a foothold into Fayette County in the worst way. Mayor Steele and Chairman Frady are doing everything they can to facilitate that process.

In recent articles, Frady, Horgan, Hearn, and Steele have all been quoted as saying the W. Bypass is for future development. What they should have said is that we are going to throw the Fayette Comprehensive Plan out the window and make sure development goes where we want it.

Think about it, folks. MARTA runs along Hwy. 138. The Regional Transportation Roundtable (Mayor Steele and Chairman Frady) want to connect the W. Bypass to Hwy. 138 by widening Peters Rd., or better yet by building a new road. The W. Bypass goes directly to the hospital area where Commissioner Lee Hearn’s family has property and Fayetteville Mayor Ken Steele has BIG PLANS after this year’s election.

REMEMBER NOW, Fayetteville Mayor Ken Steele doesn’t want the information about his BIG PLANS for developing the hospital area TO GET OUT BEFORE THE ELECTION!!!

ginga1414
ginga1414's picture
Offline
Joined: 09/01/2008
moelarrycurly, Right About W. Bypass Planning

Years ago, I had several conversations with elder Mr. Green who was the Green/Ed Wyatt family patriarch. Mr. Green said that his family had amassed so much property in the Lee's Mill area that he couldn't pay the taxes. He said that he was having to sell lots along Lee's Mill, that he didn't want to sell, in order to raise money for the taxes.

He proceeded to sell lots along Lee's Mill and consequently a large portion of the Green family land is practically land locked. That acreage adjoins my property.

One of the homes that was built on Lee's Mill, as a result of Mr. Green's land sale, is currently being demolished for the W. Bypass. Ed Wyatt, Green family member, owner of Green Development, Fayette Builders, and friend and supporter of Jack Smith, is now in charge of the Green family properties.

Two years ago, a Lee's Mill neighbor was in the Fayette Public Works Dept. discussing the route the W. Bypass would take through their property. The Lee's Mill neighbor witnessed Ed Wyatt being shown the map of where the W. Bypass would be in relation to the Green family property. Mr. Wyatt wasn't pleased, to say the least, with the route. He raised his voice, slammed the door, and said, "Talk to my attorney."

Within a month of that incident, the route was changed to a more favorable position to Mr. Wyatt/Green's property.

The Wyatt/Green family as well as the Adams/Rivers/Trammell families own hundreds and hundreds of acres along the W. Bypass. It was all farm land owned by their ancestors.

Other developers, such as John Wieland, have jumped on the band wagon and hope to ride the gravy train, too.

The West Bypass is the brainchild of the Atlanta Regional Commission in that they funded the Fayette Transportation Plan. Now, in an effort to try and justify the road, the ARC Regional Transportation Roundtable is considering as part of the 2012 Regional T-SPLOST to either widen Peters Rd. to four lanes or build a completely new road through to Hwy. 138.

MARTA runs a bus line along Hwy. 138. Former Commission Chairman Jack Smith, Fayetteville Mayor Ken Steele and current Commission Chairman Herb Frady were/are Fayette County's representatives on the Atlanta Regional Transportation Roundtable. Smith, Steele, and Frady are pushing the 2012 Regional T-SPLOST with all their might.

The fix is on! It involves the developers and the politicians. The citizens are paying so the developers and politicians can play and profit.

Mayor Steele, Chairman Frady and former Chairman Smith have all said it ain't so. Yet, they have and continue to vote in favor of MARTA with the 2012 Regional Transportation SPLOST. MARTA wants to get a foothold into Fayette County in the worst way. Mayor Steele and Chairman Frady are doing everything they can to facilitate that process.

Think about it folks. MARTA runs along Hwy. 138. The Regional Transportation Roundtable (Mayor Steele and Chairman Frady) want to connect the W. Bypass to Hwy. 138 by widening Peters Rd. or better yet by building a new road. The W. Bypass goes directly to the hospital area where Commissioner Lee Hearn's family has property and Fayetteville Mayor Ken Steele has BIG PLANS after this year's election.

REMEMBER, Fayetteville Mayor Ken Steele doesn't want the information about his BIG PLANS for developing the hospital area TO GET OUT BEFORE THE ELECTION!!!

pips1414
pips1414's picture
Offline
Joined: 03/18/2009
Frady needs to open his own eyes

Chairman Frady continues to support the bypass that nobody outside of his two comrades will publicly endorse. Brown and McCarty ran on an anti-SPLOST, anti-bypass platform and won their seats over the two incumbent commissioners who a year ago appeared to have the endorsements of all the prominent county icons. Opposition to Frady, Horgan and Hearn winning another term is clear. It is already to the point that, with the election still over a year away, we're seeing signs urging folks to vote them out. We have yet to hear or read a favorable public comment on the West Bypass. Those three just don't care.

I spoke with Mr. Ross recently. He has an outstanding presentation giving hard facts as to why the West Bypass is not a feasible project at this time. He should be allowed to make a complete presentation of what he found to the commissioners (three of whom will again turn deaf ears) for the benefit of anyone who has any doubt as to whether it is needed at this time. For those who want the real facts, this is how you get them.

Ignoring the will of the public's desire to oust two previous commissioners and defying the logic of wasting money on the bypass when it is needed elsewhere, has hurt our county. The West Bypass money is needed for upgrading public safety vehicles and repairing storm culverts. That task needs to be done now, not passed on to the next administration. Yet, even when it is laid out before them how that could be done under House Bill #240, the three remain glued to the Bypass project post haste.

In view of all the embarrassment these folks have endured over turning their backs to the voters, there has to be some reason for their continuing devotion toward building a road to nowhere.

Anyone who feels that the three amigos were voted into office to spend our tax dollars for the good of Fayette County this way should speak up.

johenry
johenry's picture
Offline
Joined: 08/22/2006
Worried about Herb Frady's eyesight!

“I think some folks are going to have to open their eyes and look at the future,” Frady said. So it's Frady is right and everyone else is wrong.

I can honestly say most people in Fayette County don't want Herb Frady's vision of the future.

ginga1414
ginga1414's picture
Offline
Joined: 09/01/2008
Frady's "Future" Visions

Right, johenry. Frady's vision for Fayette's future includes MARTA or some form thereof. He votes in favor of mass transit with each and every opportunity in his position on the Regional Transportation Roundtable.

Robert W. Morgan
Robert W. Morgan's picture
Offline
Joined: 10/26/2005
So, I leave the hospital on my way to Atlanta and take WFB

Makes sense. I wind up at 92. Then do I go up to Union City and stop and look at car dealerships on my way OR do I just go the back way into the truck stop and try to come out to 74 and I-85? Maybe I can go into Fairburn and then go up 14.

I don't know who thinks this stuff up, but this is about the most useless road from somewhere (meaning 54) to nowhere. Brown may actually be right about it being a developer's road. $16million seems like a real bargain for that much road, I just wish it went somewhere.

Woody
Woody's picture
Offline
Joined: 07/17/2006
There's lots to do on Old National!

Robert, here's what you do. Where the bypass ends at Hwy 92, continue straight on West Bridge Road to where it hits Hwy 138 a few hundred feet from Old National Highway. Go to the Old National Hwy intersection and there is a popular night club for partying until 4:00 AM, and you can buy your lottery tickets across the street. If you go further north, you can shop at select liquor stores and choose between at least ten fried chicken fast food restaurants. A little further, you can view a lot of vacant store fronts and put together an investment group for this growth opportunity.

But, be careful driving, because there are a lot of jaywalkers, pedestrians just walking in the street (wonderful at night), drivers making u-turns, and other drivers totally ignoring the painted lines. Consider it like a video game in real life to get through without hitting an obstacle and losing points. On the other hand, you could just park your car after getting your lottery tickets, walk to the convenient bus stop, and jump on MARTA, "because it's smarta."

Oh, by the way, this route also handles southbound traffic, so the folks on Old National will be able to start visiting the delights of Peachtree City.

And, you acted as if there was little to see from the end of the bypass.

Robert W. Morgan
Robert W. Morgan's picture
Offline
Joined: 10/26/2005
Well woody, when you put it that way,

it really makes me feel better. Life is all about having choices and those all sound like entertaining choices. I was mistaken in thinking Frady, Horgan and the little dillweed were not concerned about preserving our quality of life. In fact they have made these great strides in actually improving it by opening up all these great options for us. And of course we welcome the visitors from Old National to PTC. They may have all the things you say, but they don't have cart paths and I'm sure they will be welcome here to wander around on them. Or they could simply rent a stinky gas golf cart and cruise. Maybe with a boom box.

And I guess if this is a developer road like Steve Brown says, then all those houses that someone on here said 5,000 would be built would be very appealing to those who work or play along Old National Highway. Surely we can get MARTA to run a bus line part way down that new road to help those people get to work. Thanks Herb and others for looking out for us. Good job.

grassroots
grassroots's picture
Offline
Joined: 02/17/2009
More Options RWM

You forgot to decide which road to Union City: Do you take Peters Rd with dangerous curves and blind hills with no street lights at night; or Newton/Lester winding through thick forest by the elderly pedestrians at Christian City; or Industrial Parkwy with all the trucks. I remember Frady saying " We're not sure but maybe they'll take Peters Rd". That's their traffic study in a nutshell.

Robert W. Morgan
Robert W. Morgan's picture
Offline
Joined: 10/26/2005
I actually tried Peters Rd on my way home

Without GPS, I would been lost for a long time. Even after the bypass is finished I don't see any advantage at all. I simply can't believe someone in a position of authority planned this thing.

ginga1414
ginga1414's picture
Offline
Joined: 09/01/2008
Brown's Right About "Developer Welfare Project"

Moe, the developers and politicians are in "cahoots" all right. Some old large Fayette families who own property along the W. Bypass have their own developers within the family. Those developers/families already have their own curb cuts along Phase I of the Bypass. Mayor Ken Steele is extremely interested in that portion because that family intends to develop commercially. Mayor Steele also wants high density housing in that area.

Phase II is coming up quick with more curb cuts for large families that include their own developers.

In Phase II there is one large family with hundreds and hundreds of acres. The guy that is in charge of the family property is also a developer. Imagine that. He will receive almost 1/2 mile of free road frontage. Who knows how many curb cuts he will get?

moelarrycurly
moelarrycurly's picture
Offline
Joined: 10/17/2010
Planning this thing

was done in cahoots with the developers that are on record of having scoffed up the large parcels of land along this route. It has nothing to do with getting in and out of FC to commute faster.

If you realize the time frame when all this planning took place, it makes perfect sense. Local politicos were bought and paid for to get this done. Probably still being bought and paid for, since the votes are still yes, keep going.
Some of it is also going to be a land grab by Ken Steele if he is revoted into office.

There is no better reason at this time to vote him out of office now and to get rid of the 3 stooges next election. If someone can find the details in the meantime, a recall would be in order.

Robert W. Morgan
Robert W. Morgan's picture
Offline
Joined: 10/26/2005
Well now, I guess the joke is on them, then

Too bad for the landowners. There will be no need for new development in this county for 7 or 8 years which is how long it will take the banks to get rid of the stuff they have (and will have) at 50 cents on the dollar or even less - which of course is much cheaper than you could build it for today even if someone gave you the land for free. I doubt there were any good old fashioned bribes for votes or under the table deals on this thing. Campaign contributions, maybe. That illegal stuff is much too easy to find nowadays.

So we have 3 guys sticking to their $16million road to nowhere for no apparent reason other than the suspicion they have been bought and paid for.

moelarrycurly
moelarrycurly's picture
Offline
Joined: 10/17/2010
The stupidity of stubborness

cannot be factored out either. Old men, especially those who feel they have power and will soon lose it, will stubbornly make stupid decisions just to prove to themselves that they were right all along. Look at Frady and Steele. Their pictures are listed in the dictionary user stubborn, stupid old men. Impotence starts south and works it's way north. And not just on the maps of Fayette County.