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Hwy. 54 hospital pedestrian bridge closer to reality

There has been plenty of talk in Fayetteville in recent years about building a pedestrian bridge across Ga. Highway 54 at Piedmont Fayette Hospital. An update on the project was presented to the Fayetteville City Council at the Feb. 25 retreat.

The city is currently waiting to hear if a grant proposal that would help facilitate the project has been approved. If successful, those funds paired with others already received could make the project a reality.

The idea a few years ago of installing a pedestrian bridge over four-lane Hwy. 54 near Piedmont Fayette Hospital gave way to a lesser proposal of upgrading the intersection at street level. But more recently the city has renewed its interest in trying again for the larger pedestrian bridge project.

The city in mid-2011 was approved for a $400,000 grant from Ga. Dept of Transportation for the at-grade crossing and to install a multi-use path from Togwatee Village to Lester Road. But conversations over the need for a pedestrian bridge continued.

The move to try again for the pedestrian bridge stems from a portion of the DOT approval process that dealt with the speed limit along Hwy. 54. Unlike the view held by the city, DOT wanted to keep the speed limit at 55 miles per hour rather than lowering the speed to the 45 miles per hour the city believes is more appropriate, City Manager Joe Morton said previously.

“The grade-level improvements won’t be as significant as what we need, and we won’t resolve the issues of pedestrians crossing the highway,” Morton said in 2012. “So we are discussing with DOT and Fayette County the idea of going back to the original proposal of having a pedestrian bridge (over Hwy. 54).”

The idea of having a bridge over the roadway was enhanced by the annexation last fall of 1,200 acres around the hospital and the arrival of Pinewood Atlanta Studios immediately to the north.

“We already saw before Pinewood that we needed a lower speed limit (on Hwy. 54). Having a pedestrian bridge rather than the grade-level improvements would satisfy our needs,” said Morton last year. “So this is the opportune time to go back and revisit the proposal.”

Community Development Director Brian Wismer at the retreat reiterated that, over time, the plan evolved to one that would install a pedestrian bridge over Hwy. 54. That plan carries an estimated $2.4 million price tag.

The option of a pedestrian bridge gained traction due to pedestrian safety concerns, usability and the opportunity to have it serve as a gateway structure to the city, Wismer said.

The city is currently awaiting a decision on a $1.26 million request made to the Ga. Tollway Infrastructure Bank.

Another funding source, one now available to the city, is a $749,000 sum from the Transportation Alternatives Program.

Also in play is the original $400,000 DOT grant that can be used for bridge construction and for engineering on the multi-use path to Lester Road.

The combination of those funds, including the potential approval of the $1.26 million sum, should provide the capital necessary to bring the project forward, Wismer said.

A decision by the Ga. Tollway Infrastructure Bank is expected in the coming weeks.



for a bridge over 54. Wait now, let me repeat that.

2.4 MILLION BUCKAROOS for a pedestrian bridge over 54.

For the love of GAWD, GDOT and Fayette County can't even afford to keep the freekin' median of that road mowed!!

Pedestrian safety concerns???? Where ARE those pedestrians? I must miss every sweaty, sunburned last one of 'em as I zoom by in my supersonic 55MPH gas powered vessel.

I can't even find a parking spot at that hospital complex magalopolous without phoning ahead for a reservation a week ahead of time. Golf carts run by 85 year old retired golfers have to tote the masses across the parking lot who come in for an operation or a tune up with a medico there or to get one of them funny photos taken of their gall bladder or prostate.

A gateway structure to the city?? Where have we heard THAT before??

And why didn't you tell that to Truett before he blew all that cash on that waterfall that is invisible after dark due to the blinding glare of those eyesore white lights of that gas station across the corner there?

Did Wismer and gang head out to get some Rocky Mountain high before this little brain fart session?

People have short memories. Build it and they will come? Gateway? Pinewood needs it? Oh, and we need it for the URBAN community being planned.

Then why the heck did we sell a new elementary school for pennies on the dollar if in a few short years its going to be needed again?

This is going to be great for Brian Wismer's resume.

If there are now people wanting to cross the street from the hospital its most likely because they want to get a bite to eat instead of eating "hospital food". That means staffers, and guests. How about the hospital and shopping center pay for this?

Is this project in Fayetteville or the county?
Is it only Fayetteville that's going to pay for it (with tax supported grants?)
If its the county, maybe the county commissioners can release the remaining SPLOST money back to the municipalities they all campaigned on 4 years ago. They said it was one of their priorities once they got control of the commission.
How much money is left? If there's money to pay for this LOW priority bridge then there must be money to give back to the municipalities.
Surly the 5 city councils (PTC, Fayetteville, Tyrone, Brooks and Davison) would have HIGHER priorities with the money and would know better how to spend it in their own communities than the all high and mighty overlord commissioners.

PTC council and staff are going to workshop roads, paths and expansions and funding...might get some answers there.

Robert W. Morgan's picture

Talk about something really expensive being built to be used by so few people - why not just buy the Kedron pool from PTC?

Hospital workers going to the sub shop for lunch are the only users I can imagine. Don't think the people in assisted living will be using the bridge when they visit the hospital.

I know - let's do a pedestrian traffic study!

Only government can come up with stuff like this to waste money. Can you imagine anyone in the private sector proposing such a thing and then getting it approved, financed by a bank and actually built?

Live free or die!

TinCan's picture

Granted I am not a daily rt. 54 commuter, but I have yet to see a pedestrian attempting to cross the highway. Oh, I know why, no bridge!

If they build it, people will come?

Like the elementary school we built and sold for pennies on the dollar?

I don't know about you, but I would wait and see how much revenue Pinewood actually brings in for a year or two before anything like this moves forward, unless the hospital and shopping center want to pay.

You are just making too much just stop that, will you?

Talk about sheer folly! I simply can't understand how any serious elected official could propose or support such a foolish project!

Robert W. Morgan's picture

grants would be the crack cocaine. There are 3 things at play here:
1. A use it or lose it mentality.
2. Money chasing a project instead of the other way around.
3. A sincere belief that state and federal grants are somebody else's money and maybe not even our tax dollars.

It is more of a staff problem than the elected guys. The elected simply vote yes because it appears they created something without raising local taxes.

Live free or die!

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