West Bypass, meet your $28 million twin, the East Bypass

The Fayette County Commission covered a variety of topics at its annual retreat on April 5. From left, seated, Chairman Steve Brown, Commissioner Randy Ognio, county staffers, and commissioners David Barlow, Allen McCarty and Charles Oddo. Photo/Ben Nelms.

5 anti-West Bypass commissioners eye spending $28 million in local money to build bypass on F’ville’s east side

The five Fayette County commissioners who campaigned against the West Fayetteville Bypass, largely on an outcry that it cost too much money, may be positioning themselves to spend a similar amount, $28 million, to build a second bypass, this time on the east side of Fayetteville.

A common refrain among the commissioners campaigning against the West Fayetteville Bypass was that the project was a “road to nowhere.”

The East Bypass, as currently proposed, might also become known by a similar moniker, given that its southern terminus is in rural Fayette County: three miles short of Ga. Highway 92 and approximately seven miles away from Ga. Highway 85 south of Fayetteville.

Another of the often-used refrains against the former commission was the lack of a traffic study showing the benefits of the West Bypass. The current commissioners find themselves in the same position over the East Bypass: No traffic study exists that provides any cost-benefit analysis of the proposal.

The 6.2-mile-long road would start along Ga. Highway 85 north of the Fayette Pavilion and largely follow the length of the existing Corinth Road to reach Ga. Highway 54 West. From there, the road would take a new path to reach the existing County Line Road and the bypass would end at the intersection of County Line, Inman and South Jeff Davis roads.

While the road’s southern end stops in rural Fayette County, it also borders directly with more dense development in Clayton County, creating the possibility that if the East Bypass is built, the majority of vehicles using it would be Clayton residents.

At the Fayette County Commission’s retreat Friday, Commission Chairman Steve Brown, who has been one of the loudest public voices against the West Bypass, said he thought the county should at least consider purchasing the land needed for the East Fayetteville Bypass because “you’ll never get land prices lower than what we’ve got them at today.”

Public Works Director Phil Mallon told the commission that the county could save significant money if it decided to handle the project exclusively with local funds instead of going through the lengthy and costly process of seeking federal aid.

Brown replied that he thinks the federal road construction methods “has become a jobs program to hire extra people” for tasks the county could handle itself.

Mallon noted if the county wants to stay positioned for federal funding, it will probably be another two years before it is in the phase where East Bypass right-of-way can be acquired.

While there is the chance of getting $12.9 million in federal funds for the East Bypass, that potential funding is parked in a “long range” plan with no concrete date for funding, Mallon added. Also, if the federal funding is sought, the commission would need another $5.8 million on top of the remaining $28 million from the transportation sales tax, just to finish the road.

However, if the commission chose to make the East Bypass a local project, Mallon said he thinks “we can deliver a similar-type project.” The county has already spent about $1.1 million on preliminary environmental studies for the East Fayetteville Bypass.

Mallon noted that the previous commission was in favor of the East Fayetteville Bypass, but he wanted to get feedback from the new commissioners.

County Administrator Steve Rapson said the matter would be ideal for the commission to hash out in a workshop meeting.

DBarlow
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Audio of Phil Mallon during commission retreat April 5, 2013

This is an audio track I extracted from the 5 hours of audio taken during our recent retreat.

http://www.youtube.com/edit?feature=vm-privacy&video_id=PQNq12i-WFI&ns=1

It is 8 minutes of Phil Mallon giving us an update on the SPLOST projects. The audio clearly proves that no action was taken. No formal vote is taken at retreat or workshop meetings.

If anyone would like a copy of the entire 5 hours of the meeting I will gladly bring a USB drive to you so you can copy the file. It is 550MB in size.

Please call me if you have any questions or wish to speak with me at 770-722-6820. Thank you, DBarlow

Husband and Fat...
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Know one thought this was voted on

Not sure why you bring up the fact that no formal action had been taken. We all know this would never happen.

What I and many others want to know is why commission is even considering the EFB at this time. Before you go off considering any further purchases, we first need to see a traffic study and the people want to know how this will benefit the county. What exactly is the plan for this road? Will you be voting on another change in land use plans? There is a plan, right? Was it not you who cried and whined for years against the WFB for similar reasons? Perhaps you didn't know until elected that the county had one of its better developers working with the state on a plan while you were so against this developers paradise.

Perhaps with your new position on commission and your thoughts on moving forward with the EFB, you and Mr. Concrete lobbyist can now bury the hatchet. Or will he still have to answer to god for lobbying for his livelihood?

It took less than 3 months in office for you to turn your back on your political platform that you cried about for years. Anyone with an ounce of economic sense would have known last summer that it was too late to turn back on the WFB. You didn't since you played this card thru the election. Everyone else knew this too but couldn't divulge Pinewood because the negotiations were ongoing and they could not share this information due to executive privilege for fear of being brought up on ethics charges.

Perhaps now you understand that all the important decisions are made during executive sessions. The commission meetings are nothing more than a dog and pony show. Otherwise, you would have known all about the previous commissions hard work along with the development authority, and the developers to bring us Pinewood Studios.

When will you be standing up to Mr. Brown and have him follow thru with the term limits he ran as a platform? Or do you now like the power and steady paycheck?

Steve Brown
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There you go again Mike

The WFB Phase II is 85% complete with contracts in effect since last year. We would be in breach of contract and pay for it anyway. We did kill Phase III and reduced the expense of the connection at SR 92 (about all we could do).

As for the PTC land for the bridge abutment, we ended up getting GDOT to build two tunnels at very little cost to the city instead. Does that make you unhappy?

As for the EFB, we discussed projects where thhe county had already expended funds (past commission) - David Barlow is right, go listen to the audio.

Too bad you will not meet, not playing in the sandboax well - we already have that over there.

Mike King
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Actually Steve...

...You ran on a platform to kill the WFB while knowing full well you could not stop it (Phase II). Do you deny this? The same can be said for district voting, but I digress.
The tunnels you reference are how close to the land you had the city purchase, please elaborate. Could this be just another political deflection from having to admit to wasting nearly a million bucks?
Regarding the meeting too bad perhaps, but I do choose those with whom I associate-the fewer politicians, the better.

Mike King
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How Convenient

That no mention by Mr Brown of his purchase of land for Peachtree City's bridge to nowhere. Does anyone remember that the Chairman's campaign promise to stop the West Fayette Bypass was the central theme in his getting elected? All the while the Pinewood Studio deal was in the works, and without the WFB, it may not have come to fruition.
Yet like lemmings following their leader off a cliff we keep electing folks that are simply all hat and no cattle.

NUK_1
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Yes, that's typical Brown

He'll say anything whatsoever to get elected and then attempt to "govern" differently. It's disgusting, but he has some followers who will believe anything that comes out of his mouth no matter how hypocritical or just plain dumb that it might be.

In the case of the bridge to nowhere, former Mayor Lenox was in favor of and committed to it and then the Brownies approved the funding, if I recall correctly, not that this absolves Brown in this whatsoever.

oldmechanic
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East Bypass.

Hey, if the next group wants a North bypass, and then next a South bypass, we'll have a perimeter just like Atlanta. Won't that be wonderful. I am amazed how many ways Politicians can come up with to spend the taxpayers money.

rmoc
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East Bypass

Would have been handy when I lived in Rivers Edge in Clayton County..but give me a break 7 miles out of the way?? Only bypass that will work is one close to the square..

Husband and Fat...
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Great Quote

"you’ll never get land prices lower than what we’ve got them at today.”

With comments like this, the landowners price just increased 25%.

Husband and Fat...
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Traffic Studies, Land Use Plans, Mr. Drake

When the county produces a REAL traffic study and a REAL land use plan, once the road is installed, then we will listen.

I am betting Mr. Drake fell out of his chair last night after reading the article. Guess he and the commissioners will now be buddy's. lol

efdrakejr
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H&F

Honestly, I am just happy to see Fayette making some economic progress (assuming things go through as described). I have gotten quite a few laughs though at our flexible commission (how's that for being nice?) and how they justify their actions. Hopefully God will understand!!

driftwood
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Who are the landowners of the proposed route?

Would be interesting to see who are the current landowners of the proposed route. Is this road necessary? Where are the traffic counts to support such a faciltity? I like the suggestion that Naturegrl posted on the S-plost article...use the money for the stormwater issues.

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