DOT wants to dump Clayton County traffic into Fayette

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In past weeks, I listed some of the items that we should be talking about in our Comprehensive Plan discussions. I want you pay very close attention to two transportation projects that have been blended into one.

The first is the widening of Ga. Highway 54 to the east of Fayetteville. At first glance, it looks like a reasonable project.

I ask you to take your mind over to the opposite side of the county in Peachtree City and examine what is happening on Hwy. 54 related to east-west traffic. All of the increased capacity has been smothered by large increases in volume. Expect that to occur with the widening to the east of Fayetteville.

The second project is the McDonough Road widening. As the name implies, the road goes east through Clayton County towards the city of McDonough in Henry County.

For starters, the Georgia Department of Transportation’s design for McDonough Road puts your county facilities located on the road, paid for with your tax dollars, in jeopardy. The sizable Public Works facility would have to be moved, the parking capacity at the Water System’s offices would be decapitated and easy access to the large sports complex at McCurry Park would be severely limited.

Logistically, McDonough Road would become the new major traffic corridor for traffic from Clayton, Henry and others. The new road capacity would allow for traffic now heading to Highway 41-Tara Boulevard to use Fayette County as a major cut through instead.

Please remember that traffic volume always meets the increased road capacity. The problem with significant increases in traffic volume on McDonough Road is that the rest of your road network with no added capacity gets dangerous and ground to a crawl.

This situation is particularly dangerous in Fayetteville as the intersection of Ga. highways 85 and 54 is surrounded by historical buildings with no chance of adding additional lanes. There are few solutions and it will impact traffic in other areas.

The GDOT district pushing the two road projects is GDOT District 13 which includes Clayton County and a portion of Henry County, both feeding into the Hwy. 54 and McDonough Road projects.

Now if you think that GDOT District 13 is pushing these projects out of love and concern for Fayette County, please wake up. The intention is to push their congestion through our roads because the residential growth they allowed is causing a significant up-tick in traffic.

Unfortunately, the county government has done nothing about this situation for the past two years. The Board of Commissioners approved taxpayer dollars to aid the Hwy. 54 East project, paying for utility relocation with Commissioner Ognio and me voting in opposition (neither Charles Rousseau nor Eric Maxwell were on the Board at the time).

In 2014, the GDOT was given a thorough explanation of the county’s issues with the McDonough Road project in a public meeting and we have not seen a response from them addressing our concerns. Likewise, our leadership for the past two years has been anemic and unwilling to pursue the county’s interests with GDOT.

You will see a lot of new subdivisions in GDOT District 13 advertising homes in the “100’s.” Their land development, reflecting a downward trend in development (more homes at lower prices), along with their lack of viable transportation infrastructure means they want us to be their traffic relief corridor.

Please pay attention. Send email to commissioners@fayettecountyga.gov and tell your county commissioners how you feel about these projects.

Steve Brown, Commissioner
Fayette Board of Commissioners
Peachtree City, Ga.