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Despite past opposition, commissioners OK West Bypass

It came with a significant caveat, but the Fayette County Commission on March 14 voted to complete the construction on Phase 2 of the West Fayetteville Bypass.

The irony is that all five commissioners have vehemently opposed what each previously called “the road to nowhere” at one time or another during the past three years.

The motion to complete Phase 2, to save money by having the roundabout at the bypass intersection with Ga. Highway 92 reworked as a traffic signal and to eliminate the Phase 3 portion of the bypass project south of Ga. Highway 54 was accompanied by a unanimous vote.

Chairman Steve Brown in a prepared statement noted his longtime opposition to the bypass project. But after consulting with legal and engineering staff on the Phase 2 portion of the project that extends from Sandy Creek Road to Hwy. 92, Brown suggested the county move forward with the completion of Phase 2 to avoid a lawsuit based on breach of contract with the project contractor since so much of the work on the project has already been completed.

Brown said former commissioners Herb Frady, Lee Hearn and Robert Horgan along with former County Administrator Jack Krakeel initiated “irresponsible” and “inappropriate” actions that led to the construction of Phase 2 where 10 parcels of property are still in the condemnation phase.

But given the liability to the county with so much of the construction already completed, Brown said it would be better to complete Phase 2 rather than face the potential for litigation.

The remainder of the paving for Phase 2 from Eastin Road to Hwy. 92 is expected to be completed in May, Brown added.

Brown as a further reason for finishing the project said portions of the road bed already completed but not yet paved would erode and cause environmental problems that would become expensive to clean up if the project is not completed.

Commenting on the issue just prior to the unanimous vote, Commissioner Charles Oddo said it would be a waste of taxpayers’ money to stop the second phase construction.

An area resident speaking on the agenda item asked that commissioners consider some type of visual screening along the roadway once the project is completed.

None of the commissioners mentioned during the discussion that the “road to nowhere” has become a road to Pinewood Studios, a potentially massive economic boost to all of Fayette County when it opens by this time next year, if the commission approves its rezoning within weeks.

The 288.5 acre tract abuts the bypass, known as Veterans Parkway, and Sandy Creek Road in the center part of the county.

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