Quick fixes sought to cut red tape on Hwy. 85 South traffic problems

Phil Mallon, director of Public Works for Fayette County. File photo.

The mass of people traveling Ga. Highway 85 south of Fayetteville are familiar with the increasing traffic problems. Potential long-range widening plans notwithstanding, the county is working with the Ga. Department of Transportation (DOT) to see if a number of quick-fix intersection improvements can be made.

Fayette County Public Works Director Phil Mallon (in photo above) said the DOT project on the books for 15 years or more calls for Hwy. 85 to be widened from Fayetteville to Ga. Highway 16 in Senoia. The project has been largely on and off, Mallon said.

Meantime, county commissioners on Oct. 26 allocated $500,000 from the 2004 SPLOST (special purpose local option sales tax) so county staff can work with DOT to determine if quick-fix improvements, such as passing and turn lanes, to several intersections along Hwy. 85 South are feasible.

Fayette County in 2010 took the position that the road could be widened in Fayetteville, with safety and operational improvements completed in areas south of the city.

Now DOT has awarded the project to a new consultant, with Mallon saying that the limits of the project are currently unknown in terms of putting the project back on track.

“The project consultant is looking at all the pieces to see where they can be put together,” said Mallon.

Mallon said DOT is in talks with the Federal Highway Administration to determine if federal funds might be used for portions of the widening project.