County asks PTC to shrink Parkway-Crosstown fix
At the request of the Fayette County Board of Commissioners, Peachtree City is looking to scale back its plans to improve the intersection of Peachtree Parkway and Crosstown Drive.
The city on Wednesday asked the commission to set aside $774,000 in remaining transportation SPLOST funds to add multiple turn lanes to the intersection. The city needed a quick answer to avoid losing more than $400,000 in state matching funds for the project.
The catch, however, is that the Georgia Department of Transportation has already approved plans to add a traffic light along with the turn lanes, and the city needs the DOT to approve removal of the traffic light to maintain the grant funding.
Commissioner Eric Maxwell said he feared the DOT would require the traffic light to be installed, which based on his experience using the intersection doesn’t make any sense.
City Manager Bernie McMullen said the city council doesn’t want to build a light there either. Maxwell further clarified that he wouldn’t vote for any project or funding that might possibly allow a traffic light at the intersection.
“I haven’t seen the traffic counts ... but with the exception of a 15-minute window in the afternoon when I have seen it stacked up, that’s about the only time I ever see it stacked up.”
Maxwell said he didn’t think the intersection was dangerous either, as any collisions would be at a relatively low speed.
After a thorough discussion, the commission agreed to fund up to $25,000 to complete a scoping study to scale the project back, perhaps to add only turn lanes for east and westbound traffic on Crosstown Road where the backups most often seem to occur.
City Engineer David Borkowski noted that the eastbound traffic on Crosstown has a very short area to stack before making a turn, which leads to significant congestion during the peak afternoon traffic hour.
Peachtree City has been given a deadline by the end of the year to notify the Atlanta Regional Commission if it would proceed with the project, otherwise the city faces losing the state funding, officials said. Commission Chairman Jack Smith, who serves on the ARC board, said he would get an answer for the city quickly, but he didn’t anticipate a slight delay being any problem.
The city also made its pitch for $1.04 million in county SPLOST funding to pay for construction of a “Gateway” cart path bridge across Ga. Highway 54 West near the city limits. The city is projecting to get $518,000 from a state grant for the project.
Borkowski explained that the bridge would link homes on the northwest side along MacDuff Parkway with the Shoppes at the Village Piazza shopping center. It was also noted that the bridge would be accessed from the south by going through the Planterra Ridge subdivision and the Line Creek Nature Area.
As of now, those living along MacDuff who want to get to Shoppes at the Village Piazza have to drive through the Walmart area to reach the new bridge and tunnel system at Hwy. 54 and Huddleston Road and then backtrack westward across Huddleston and through Planterra Ridge.
Commissioner Lee Hearn asked if he city had any figures on how many trips per day are made at the current bridge and tunnel system at Hwy. 54 and Huddleston, so a figure could be devised to determine how much traffic would use the new gateway bridge.
McMullen said city staff would work on trying to get some data in that vein.
Councilman Doug Sturbaum said that some residents will go across the highway on their golf carts to reach the shopping center, and several have reported near-collisions with vehicles using the right turn lane to access MacDuff Parkway.
McMullen said the city was considering using a “boardwalk” style bridge that would be elevated on wooden pilings instead of a traditional bridge and path system in an effort to better handle stormwater on the site. The city finished a similar cart path bridge earlier this year over Flat Creek on the city’s south side, connecting homes off Braelinn Road to the southeastern tip of the industrial park.