Councilwoman Fleisch to ask for traffic study for Hwy. 54 West

The daily afternoon traffic jam for westbound commuters on Ga. Highway 54 West will be discussed again by the Peachtree City Council at its regular meeting Thursday night.

Stretching for nearly a mile during peak congestion times, the traffic backup is front and center now that a shopping center developer wants a sixth traffic light added to the mix on Hwy. 54 between Ga. Highway 74 at the city limits: at the intersection of Line Creek Parkway, which is between Planterra Way and MacDuff Parkway.

Councilwoman Vanessa Fleisch is planning to ask for a city-funded traffic study of the entire corridor to provide a “comprehensive” study of the problem, noting that no previous study has taken the entire stretch of highway into account.

“I think this piecemeal approach has made the situation over there terrible and if this analysis can come up with at least one good idea it might be worth doing,” Fleisch said.

Councilman George Dienhart has advocated that the city ask the Georgia Department of Transportation to close the median cut at Line Creek Parkway, which would eliminate the need for a traffic light there. While Mayor Don Haddix has sided with that view, council members Kim Learnard and Eric Imker have declined to agree.

Learnard said she prefers to work with the developer to improve the final product of The Overlook shopping center, now anchored by a proposed RaceTrac gas station.

Imker said he worries the city could be sued over seeking the median closure, although City Attorney Ted Meeker has told council the liability would rest with the DOT because it has the final say on the matter.

The deadlock has left Fleisch as the tie-breaker, but she has said she wants to wait for an in-depth look at traffic problems in the area before she makes a decision.

Meanwhile, westbound afternoon commuters face backups stretching all the way back to Willowbend Road as they compete with traffic coming off Hwy. 74 to squeeze into the two lanes governed by five traffic lights. That slows vehicles to a virtual crawl as they try to eke by, with many of those commuters continuing straight through into Coweta County where traffic eases noticeably as soon as they cross the county line, having finally cleared the traffic lights.