66,000 — That’s a lot of vehicles passing through Fayetteville

This is a view looking southwest at the traffic signal at the intersection of Ga. Highway 85 and Ga. Highway 92 in Fayetteville, which will be a thing of the past once the light is moved a short distance to the south at Hood Avenue as part of the upcoming realignment project that will link Hwy. 92 and Hood Avenue to Kathi Avenue and Jeff Davis Drive. The project is intended to help mitigate the traffic caused by tens of thousands of vehicles traveling through Fayetteville. Photo/ Ben Nelms.

In advance of the realignment project that will connect Ga. Highway 92, Hood Avenue and Jeff Davis Drive and include Ga. Highway 85 beginning next year, a new traffic study shows a total of nearly 66,000 vehicles traverse the four roadways each day.

The project carries an estimated price tag of $9.1 million, with $7.8 million coming from previously collected local 1-cent sales tax revenues.

The traffic study for the realignment project was complied by Kimley Horn and Associates using 2010 traffic data from the Georgia Department of Transportation. And what it showed was 65,930 vehicles per day on the roadways affected by the realignment.

While there is some obvious duplication in the figures due to motorists crossing more than one intersection on more than roadway, the numbers clearly reflect the mass of vehicles traveling through Fayetteville each day.

Some who do not often frequent Fayetteville might be surprised to learn that 34,671 vehicles travel north and south daily along Hwy. 85.

The traffic study also showed 9,295 vehicles traveling on Hwy. 92 west of Hwy. 85 and another 4,244 vehicles traveling on Hood Avenue, also west of Hwy. 85. And along Jeff Davis Drive, the study showed that roadway handling 17,720 vehicles per day.

Not included in the study was another mass of vehicles traveling east and west each day along Ga. Highway 54.

The traffic count numbers bring clarity to the idea of the realignment project that should get underway next year.

The realignment project will relocate the traffic signal at Hwy. 92 and Hwy. 85 a short distance to the south at the intersection of Hwy. 85 and Hood Avenue. A large roundabout will connect Hood Avenue to Hwy. 92 on the west side of Hwy. 85.

The roundabout connecting Hwy. 92 and Hood Avenue will be located approximately 400 feet from Hwy. 85 and will be quite large. Vehicles passing through the roundabout on the way to Hwy. 85 will find a total of five lanes of roadway. Two of those lanes will be right-turn only, one will cross Hwy. 85 and onto the Hood Avenue extension while a fourth will be designated for left turns. The fifth lane will be designated for traffic coming from the east side of Hwy. 85 onto Hwy. 92.

A part of the project includes the removal of the the smaller, southernmost Hudson Plaza building positioned perpendicular to Hwy. 85 and situated across from Hood Avenue. That extension will provide the link to Jeff Davis Drive.

Once the Hudson Plaza building is removed Hood Avenue can be extended east across Hwy. 85 along the south side of Hudson Plaza, where it will link with Kathi Avenue by way of another roundabout east of Hudson Plaza, and on to Jeff Davis Drive to the east.

Still another project component includes extending Church Street from where it currently ends at Georgia Avenue. The new extension will tie in with the Kathi Avenue roundabout.

Once completed, the realignment project is expected to help mitigate a portion of the traffic flow through downtown Fayetteville. But don’t look for the project to solve all of Fayetteville’s traffic woes. That’s because there is likely no feasible way to to add more lanes along Hwy. 85 as it makes its way through the north and south sides of downtown.

As for traffic flowing through Fayetteville, there is more to the story. While it may or may not occur depending on the long-lasting recession, Fayette’s population by around mid-century is expected to reach 168,500 with an eventual build-out population estimated at approximately 180,000. That compares to the 107,000 people today, and their vehicles, who call Fayette home.

But there is even more to the story. And that involves the multitude of motorists that will continue to travel through Fayette each day from surrounding counties and will continue to add appreciably to future traffic congestion.

Taking just two neighboring counties as an example, Coweta County’s 2010 population was 127,000. The 2040 population estimate is 248,500, a 107.2 percent increase. Clayton County’s population is expected to go from 281,100 in 2010 to 321,800 in 2040, an increase of 14.54 percent.

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