Commission to vote on Phase 2 of bypass all 5 have opposed
An effort to stop the second phase of the West Fayetteville Bypass in its tracks is not possible because terminating construction contracts would leave the county susceptible to lawsuits, according to Fayette County Commission Chairman Steve Brown.
In a memo to his fellow commissioners, all of whom have opposed the bypass, Brown notes that the majority of the work on the remainder of the second phase — from Eastin Road to Ga. Highway 92 — is complete.
Brown is expected to author a motion at Thursday night’s commission meeting to allow completion of the second phase of the bypass, but to completely ditch a proposed third and final phase of the road.
“The contractor has to be paid in full or the county government is in breach of contract as we are locked into a binding agreement from the former majority on the Board of Commissioners,” Brown wrote in the memo. “If we continue to halt the work, we lose a significant amount of taxpayer dollars with nothing to show for it.”
There is also a chance for erosion problems from the as-yet unpaved road bed that would cost even more if the project isn’t completed, Brown said.
Brown’s memo does not mention the road’s connection to the proposed Pinewood Studios development which would be located off the bypass (which is formally named Veterans Parkway) near Sandy Creek and Eastin roads.
Once the second phase is complete, the bypass will stretch from Ga. Highway 54 west of Piedmont Fayette Hospital all the way up to Ga. Highway 92 at West Bridge Road.
Brown has been a staunch opponent of the bypass and has voted against any motion before the commission that even has a remote connection with furthering the bypass project, such the bulk purchase of asphalt material that is also used for other county roads. He has often argued that on principle alone he could not approve such matters because of his distaste for the bypass.
So it is significant that Brown is reversing course on the matter when he has four other like-minded commissioners who also opposed the project.
Brown’s motion, however, will also include a death blow for the third and final phase of the bypass, which would have run from Redwine Road along Ebenezer Church and Lester roads to link with the current southern terminus of the bypass at Hwy. 54 west of Piedmont Fayette Hospital.
The action is planned for Thursday’s county commission meeting, which starts at 7 p.m. at the county’s Stonewall government complex in downtown Fayetteville.
Brown in the memo indicates he will make a motion for the county to cancel a recommended roundabout at the intersection of the bypass and Ga. Highway 92, directly across from Westbridge Road, in favor of a more traditional four-way crossroads. County staff has said previously that the Georgia Department of Transportation preferred using a roundabout for the intersection, which will be a short distance south of the existing traffic light at Hwy. 92 North and Milam Road.
Brown contends that the county’s interim attorney has discovered that 10 properties along the second phase of the bypass are still in the condemnation process although the county has effectively taken the land and started building the bypass anyway.
“I consider this careless methodology to be both inappropriate and unconscionable, opening the county up to considerable risk by not knowing the actual costs of land acquisitions and possible court-imposed damages,” Brown wrote.