A $70,000 corridor study to gauge future improvements for traffic-choked Ga. Highway 54 West was approved Thursday night on a 3-2 vote of the Peachtree City Council.
Councilman Eric Imker strenuously objected to the study, saying it was too expensive and that the city should wait and see the benefit of a traffic signal timing improvement project that should be operational by April.
Imker also noted that the West Village annexation tracts that will include the extension of MacDuff Parkway are likely to be developed soon, another reason the city should wait. City Manager Jim Pennington said those developers are “ready to move” and argued that’s a big reason the city should undertake the corridor study.
The results will provide data to support Hwy. 54 improvements so they can be “put on the books” for future funding by the Georgia Department of Transportation and the Atlanta Regional Commission, noted City Engineer David Borkowski.
“We think it’s money well-spent,” Borkowski said. “… We will have something in our hands to go to DOT and ARC for future grant funding for projects.”
Councilman Mike King joined Imker in voting against the corridor study. King said he was skeptical the study would be able to solve any of the problems, particularly because of the road’s status as a main east-west route for commuters.
“Is the study actually going to help us?” King asked, noting that while the traffic is bad on Hwy. 54 West, it’s nowhere near as bad as traffic on the north side of metro Atlanta. “Is it really worth the $70,000, that’s what I have to ask myself.”
DOT officials have told the city previously that if it wanted improvements for Hwy. 54 West, the city would have to fund the traffic study. As such, DOT has been working with city officials to prepare the scope of the study so it will provide potential solutions for improving traffic flow in the future.
DOT would not commit funds to the study because traffic along Hwy. 54 West isn’t bad enough to show up on the agency’s radar, officials have said.