$7.9 million voted to fix Hood Ave./Ga. 92 junction with Hwy. 85
City cancels LaFayette extension; light to move south from Hwy. 92
A $7.9 million plan to improve traffic at the intersection of Ga. highways 85 and 92, and also Hood Avenue, in Fayetteville will be funded with money from Fayette County’s 2004 transportation sales tax.
The Fayette County Commission is expected to formally approve funding the project at its meeting Thursday night at 7 p.m.
The plan calls for moving the current traffic light at Hwys. 85 and 92 southward on Hwy. 85 to serve the current Hood Avenue. To the west, a roundabout will be built that will allow Hwy. 92 to be realigned to the existing Hood Avenue interchange at the new location for the light.
The new Hwy. 92 would then cross Hwy. 85 at the light and continue eastward in a path that will go over some existing stores at the Hudson Plaza shopping center, linking up with Kathi Avenue to provide access to north Jeff Davis Drive.
Among the stores that would be displaced are Rocky’s Barber Shop, Papa John’s, Play it Again Sports and a mainstay eatery in Fayetteville: the Golden Chopsticks Chinese restaurant.
Because it will alleviate safety concerns at the now-unsignalized intersection of Hood Ave. and Hwy. 85, the project is touted as a big win for Hood Avenue and Fayetteville Intermediate elementary schools, as well as Fayette County High School, all of which rely heavily on Hood Avenue.
The Hood Ave./Hwy. 85 intersection has been the site of a number of accidents, city officials have said.
According to city officials, property owners are in agreement with the project, including Hudson Plaza owner Bill Bonner, who attended last week’s meeting of the Fayette County Commission where the project was discussed.
County Commissioner Eric Maxwell said his only hesitation on the project was that he hadn’t gotten any negative feedback about the proposal, which will also require property from four homes west of Hwy. 85, three of which are renter-occupied.
“I’m just leery of jumping in with both feet, but if nobody tells me no,” Maxwell said. “I’m convinced something needs to be done at this intersection.”
Fayetteville Mayor Ken Steele also noted that the city’s policy is to avoid condemnation proceedings and instead negotiate with property owners to acquire the land.
“We have found it very appropriate to deal with property owners in mutual agreement moving forward, and that’s what we’re hopeful of doing with this,” Steele said.
Steele also noted that the project has been publicized in the newspaper and the city has included the intersection in its planning review process.
“We’ve had extensive news coverage with pictures and everything, and I personally have had zero negative comments on it,” Steele said.
There was an alternate route proposed for the road section leading eastward of Hwy. 85, leading it through the Michael’s store at Hudson Plaza. Fayetteville City Manager Joe Morton said that would cost an extra $2-3 million, however.
That alternate path, referred to as “option B” would “pretty much nuke that shopping center,” Fayetteville City Manager Morton said.
In conjunction with the request, Fayetteville officials agreed to cancel the extension of LaFayette Avenue onto the eastern side of Hwy. 85 and a proposed traffic signal at that intersection. That would allow the $611,000 cost to be carried over to the Hood Ave./Hwy. 85/Hwy. 92 intersection project.