t’s only been a short time since Fayette County commission chairman Steve Brown announced what he called an “unprecedented” partnership, covering nine municipalities and three counties as the next move in getting the Georgia Department of Transportation to help improve the traffic congestion and safety at the intersection of I-85 and SR 74. In that time, Peachtree City Mayor Don Haddix has had time, he said, to consider the ramifications of that agreement and, more than that, what he’d like to see considered in the discussion.
“Back during the TSPLOST debates when GDOT and the ARC had their open house on improvements at the intersection, My concerns on 74/85 were acknowledged as valid and they went back to the design board. Now there is something that can be signed onto, which I did, literally. A letter of support from Peachtree City, along with ones from other City governments and the County, have been submitted.”
According to Haddix, GDOT said the design work was in progress, but no environmental applications had been submitted and that meant the earliest year for a beginning to any project is 2018.
“Earlier would be nice, but a long shot. But even with the improvement it remains a reality there is no relief for anything south of the intersection.”
Brown, he said, is endorsing and pushing secondary projects for the State Route 138 and 85 intersection and State Route 92 for Fayette traffic relief.
“GDOT and I both agree 138 is extremely complicated and expensive. We also agree 138 and 92 are not going to give relief to Fayette. It was also noted there is zero benefit to Peachtree City in
either of these proposals. That brings up the issues of traffic congestion at 74/54.”
Haddix said that it had not traffic origination study had been done for 74/85.
“It was simply assumed that it was all Fayette traffic, a very false assumption.
There was no awareness of the impact on Tyrone with Palmetto Road/Collinsworth being a major cut through to avoid 74/85. It was not noticed that between Collinsworth and Bullsboro in Newnan there are no intersections for traffic to enter or exit 85, so all traffic has to either go to Newnan or Peachtree City to get to 85.”
He said that GDOT was surprised to learn Peachtree City had been left out of the conversations about the proposals within Fayette County.
“Peachtree City is the most impacted by 74 traffic and is a third of the County, not including Tyrone or immediately surrounding County areas.”
Haddix added that his proposal was well received and could well be the next project after 74/85.
“The proposal is pretty simple and cheap, as goes road costs. Add one ramp, to Atlanta, and one, from Atlanta, to the Palmetto Tyrone Road/85 intersection. The bridge is already there as is plenty of open land. Traffic can traverse between 85 and 54 on Fischer Road. It gives relief
at 74/85, 74/54, Collinsworth/85 and Palmetto road in Tyrone. There is also general traffic relief on 74 from 85 to 54.”
He said Brown knew of his wishes, but hadn’t actually talked to him about them nor included him in any GDOT meetings.
“Ironically, he dismisses my ideas because he says Coweta is not interested. Well, their reliance on 74 for their traffic is not acceptable to Peachtree City. As stated above there are those in Coweta
who see this as a benefit to them.
“Also, unless something has changed, Fulton never has expressed an interest in the work he has proposed on 138 and 92. Nor can it be forgotten the ARC is the Metropolitan Planning Organization for both Fayette and Coweta and GDOT serves the whole State.”
Haddix added that he was elected to represent Peachtree City; Brown was elected to represent the county.
“ This is an issue that impacts both our jurisdictions. He has fought for other issues he considers important, so why not this one? It isn't important? Don't tell me you cannot fight for something against the odds and win.
“In the TSPLOST we began with zero projects and ended up with five, having three make the final list. When no one else in the County fought for it, I did, and then Director Todd Long agreed.
“This is no different. I will continue pursuing this plan.”