Fayette Commission approves corridor studies for future road upgrades

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The year for the Fayette County Commission came to an end with the approval of four roadway corridor studies that have been the subject of public meetings and comments for the past year. The four corridor studies include improvements on Banks Road, Sandy Creek Road, Tyrone and Palmetto roads and Ga. Highway 279.

Chairman Randy Ognio clarified that the list of potential projects helps in acquiring grants and federal aid needed to accomplish the projects at some point in the future.

County Administrator Steve Rapson added that, essentially, the approval says that the four projects are potential projects that Fayette County may or may not want to move on in the future.

Public Works Director Phil Mallon added that, even in the absence of future grants or aid, the corridor studies are important because they have identified areas of need and prioritization.

Two votes were taken on the projects. The first, which passed 4-0, approved the Banks Road, Sandy Creek Road and the modified Palmetto and Tyrone roads projects. Commissioner Charles Rousseau was absent.

The second vote, pertaining only to the Hwy. 279 project, came with a 3-1 vote. Commissioner Eric Maxwell was opposed, saying he could not vote for the project because it would potentially take people’s houses.

The Banks Road corridor study includes widening Banks to a 4-lane median divided roadway from Ga. Highway 85 to Ga. Highway 54; realigning the intersection with Ellis Road and a traffic signal and turns lanes; installing a multi-use path on the south side of the roadway and a sidewalk on the north side; and installing access management features along the short section of Banks Road between Hwy. 85 and Ga. Highway 314.

The Sandy Creek Road corridor study includes the 4.6 miles from Veterans Parkway in Fayetteville to Ga. Highway 74 in Tyrone. The study called for the improvement of various intersections along the corridor, realignments and the addition of road shoulders.

The Hwy. 279 corridor study shows the realignment of Hwy. 279 and Corinth Road, so that Corinth, via a new roadway section, connects to Hwy. 279 to the north. This was the facet of the study that Maxwell opposed, given that there are several houses situated in the area.

A part of the larger East Fayetteville Bypass project, commissioners in the past wanted Corinth Road, which ends at Ga. Highway 85, to be able to tie-in to Hwy. 279 approximately 2,000 feet to the north.

Other features of the Hwy. 279 study included a RCUT (restricted crossing U-turn) at Hwy. 279 and Hwy. 85; and a modified traffic signal at Corinth and Hwy. 85 to accommodate a thru-lane.

The Hwy. 279 study also included a roundabout at Hwy. 279 and Kenwood Road and a 4-lane widening of Hwy. 279 from Ga. Highway 314 to Ga. Highway 138 with a multi-use path on the south side of the highway.

The Tyrone Road-Palmetto Road corridor study had originally called for a 4-lane widening of the roadway; a roundabout at the Dogwood Trail/Tyrone Road intersection; a multi-use path on the south side of the roadway; a traffic signal at the Tyrone Road intersection with Flat Creek Trail; and intersection improvements at Hwy. 54 with turn lanes and updated traffic signal phasing.

Also a part of the improvements would be a roundabout at Palmetto Road and Senoia Road in Tyrone.

For its part, Tyrone officials were opposed to the 4-lane widening.

“A portion of the draft study prepared by the third-party engineers/consultants working on this project for the county includes a focus on Tyrone and Palmetto Roads. This portion of the study includes a recommendation from the consultant to consider making this corridor a 4-lane,” Town Manager Brandon Perkins wrote previously. “Our representative in the focus group, as well as the Town Manager and elected officials, also made it clear that we were opposed to this idea.”

Mallon said the revised project calls for retaining the widening between Hwy. 54 and Dogwood Trail, while making operational and safety improvements along the remainder of the corridor, including turn lanes, guard rails and possible passing lanes.