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Brown: Fund East Bypass by ditching West Bypass

An effort to steer Fayette County’s remaining transportation sales tax funds toward the East Fayetteville Bypass — and away from the West Fayetteville Bypass — was introduced last week by Fayette County Commissioner Steve Brown and then tabled by the full commission.

Brown, who has opposed construction of the West Bypass, contends it should be halted for now so all funds can be used on the East Bypass. Brown has noted that all Fayette County governments agreed years ago that the eastern bypass was the “top priority” for the whole county.

The first phase of the West Fayetteville Bypass is complete, and the second phase is in the land acquisition stage, while a preliminary alignment has been approved for the third and final phase.

Brown’s proposal was tabled until the next commission meeting, since the related documents were not available in advance of last Thursday’s meeting, and Commissioner Lee Hearn said he wanted to review them before making his decision on the matter.

The East Fayetteville Bypass has been criticized as a $39.4 million “road to nowhere” since its southern terminus does not reach either state highway south of Fayetteville. Instead, the East Bypass ends at the intersection of County Line Road, south of Jeff Davis Road and Inman Road.

As such, it falls significantly short of reaching Ga. highways 92 and 85.

The northern terminus would be at Hwy. 85 and Corinth Road. The road also will intersect with Ga. Highway 54 east of Fayetteville.

Because of its location, some have argued that the East Fayetteville Bypass would help more residents in Clayton County than in Fayette.

The flip side of that argument is that if more Clayton residents were to use the proposed bypass, it would help reduce the crush of traffic in downtown Fayetteville.

Of the overall $39.4 million cost for the project, the county is anticipating that $21.1 million will come from state and federal funds. That leaves the county’s portion at $18.3 million.

The West Fayetteville Bypass, once complete, would stretch from Hwy. 85 south of Fayetteville at Harp Road up to Hwy. 54 near Piedmont Fayette Hospital, ending at the intersection of Hwy. 92 north and West Bridge Road.

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