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Phase 3 West Fayetteville Bypass approved by commission

A preliminary alignment for the third and final phase of the West Fayetteville Bypass was approved by the Fayette County Commission Thursday night.

This will allow the county to seek the services of an engineering company to go into further detail to determine a final recommended path, which will be presented for a vote by the county commission at a later date.

Once complete, the bypass will stretch from Hwy. 85 and Harp Road (in the south-central part of the county near Whitewater High School) northward to the intersection of Ga. Highway 54 and the former Huiet Road, then ultimately across Sandy Creek Road toward its terminus at Ga. Highway 92 north at the intersection of West Bridge Road (in north-central Fayette).

The proposed bypass alignment shown at Thursday’s meeting would follow the length of Lester Road, but as it nears Ebenezer Church Road, the bypass would veer to the east, creating a new intersection and then continuing on Ebenezer Church Road until it crosses Redwine Road.

From that point on, a new road and new bridge over Perry Creek would be built to navigate to the south and east, where the new bypass road would link with the existing Harp Road. Harp Road will be the bypass’s southernmost access point on Ga. Highway 85 South.

The new bridge for the third phase of the bypass would go in immediately south of the Haddenstone subdivision and on the plans it is shown to have a curve.

The project also would involve the replacement of the Ebenezer Church Road bridge over Whitewater Creek, as it is not in great condition, according to county staff.

Because of the proximity of neighborhoods to the school campuses in the Lester Road area, Commissioner Jack Smith urged county staff to consider installing either a tunnel or bridge to allow children and families in particular to be able to safely cross the road.

Commissioner Eric Maxwell agreed that a bridge or tunnel was needed for safe pedestrian travel in the area, and he said if the county couldn’t pay for those improvements from the same special sales tax funds that will pay for the bypass, he urges the county to fund it from the general fund to make sure the bridge or tunnel is installed at the same time as the bypass.

“Crosswalks won’t do it,” Maxwell said. “I don’t want my fingerprints on it if it doesn’t have an off-grade crossing.”

Commissioner Herb Frady said he agreed that the tunnel and bridge possibility should be looked at as part of the study.

The intersections of the bypass and Ebenezer Church Road and Harp Road would likely be controlled with stop signs on Ebenezer Church and Harp roads, with a continuous flow of traffic on the bypass road, County Public Works Director Phil Mallon said.

There is a potential to use a roundabout to control the higher traffic volume that will be expected at the intersection of the bypass and the heavily-traveled Redwine Road, Mallon added.

Smith asked about the intersection of Hwy. 85 and Harp, which has not qualified so far for a traffic light approval from the Georgia Department of Transportation.

Mallon said the county will make intersection improvements there in a separate project, but additional lanes will be installed and the improvements will be designed so once a signal is approved, it can be installed with minimum additional cost.

“You’re not ready to go out there and build are you?” Smith asked.

“No, this just starts the process,” Mallon replied.

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