F’ville pitches $8.65 million roundabout plan for Hwys. 85N/92/Hood Ave. to county

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A plan to fix the intersection of Ga. highways 92 and 85 North, plus Hood Avenue in downtown Fayetteville, was presented to the Fayette County Commission last week.

A big part of the fix is the addition of a roundabout to the west of the existing BP gas station, along with moving the traffic light on Hwy. 85 southward from the current Hwy. 92 intersection a few yards south to the existing non-signaled Hood Avenue intersection.

That newly located light would allow traffic going west to reach Hwy. 92, Hood Avenue and perhaps an access road northward toward Habersham Drive, all via the roundabout.

The two elementary schools on Hood Avenue would benefit from having a safe access to Hwy. 85, representatives for Fayetteville officials told the Fayette County Commission at a workshop meeting last week. Furthermore, the existing intersection of Hood Avenue and Hwy. 85 has a number of traffic accidents that would be significantly reduced under the new plan.

The catch is that the project cost is significant: the county’s share alone is $6.93 million with the city’s share at $1.72 million.

The Fayetteville City Council is asking for the Fayette County Commission to approve funding for the project with revenues from the 2004 transportation sales tax, but the commission was not ready to commit to it last week.

County Manager Jack Krakeel noted that in the near future the commission would get a detailed presentation of how much money is left in the SPLOST funds and what projects remain undone.

That information will help the commission make the decision on the remaining SPLOST priorities. Peachtree City officials are also asking the county commission for a significant amount of funding for two transportation projects: a “gateway” cart path bridge over Ga. Highway 54 West near MacDuff Parkway and intersection improvements to Peachtree Parkway and Walt Banks Road.

The 92-85-Hood Avenue project in Fayetteville will require buying property on which four homes currently sit between the existing routes of Hood Avenue and Hwy. 92. Of those homes, three are occupied by renters while the fourth is occupied by the property owner, Fayetteville representatives said. The houses would have to be demolished to make way for the road changes.

Without the changes, the existing intersection of Hwys. 85 and 92 eventually will degrade to an “F” level of service rating in the afternoon peak rush hour conditions, but it will maintain a “C” level if the new project is undertaken as proposed, city officials said.

The project also includes a new access road to the east of the intersection that would allow traffic to reach Kathi Avenue at a new roundabout to replace the current 3-way stop and ultimately Jeff Davis Drive. Doing so, however, will result in the elimination of a row of shops at the Hudson Plaza shopping center which includes a Papa John’s, Play It Again Sports and a mainstay eatery in Fayetteville: the Golden Chopsticks Chinese restaurant.

Traffic engineers for the city also considered rerouting the eastern leg to go through the existing Michael’s store in the same shopping center, but doing so would decimate the largest tenant in the shopping center.

The eastern leg would also allow for a connection southward to Church Street in the future to provide better access to the Fayetteville Post Office.

The commission was told that the shopping center owner was on board with either proposal. The road going through the smaller stores, however, is seen as more beneficial to Fayetteville because it would allow the city to also acquire the existing Mrs. Winners vacant tract, which would be upgraded into a stormwater detention facility to alleviate problems downstream which include repetitive flooding in the football locker room at Fayette County High School, officials said.