News, updates, commentary and more from BikeAthens. BikeAthens is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization based in Athens, GA. BikeAthens promotes transportation and land-use policies that improve alternative modes of transportation, including pedestrian, cycling, and public transit options. The mission of our organization is to make alternative transportation a practical, convenient, and safe option for all citizens of Athens-Clarke County.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

ABH: "A-C seeks new loop interchange"

From today's ABH:

Athens-Clarke officials want the state Department of Transportation to build a new Athens Perimeter interchange in West Athens.

The new interchange would be located off a dead-end, four-lane road near Heyward Allen Toyota, between the Oglethorpe Avenue/Tallassee Road and Atlanta Highway exits. It is intended to take cars off increasingly busy Westside streets like Mitchell Bridge Road and Oglethorpe Avenue that can't be widened, Athens-Clarke transportation planner Sherry Moore said.

"The idea is to relieve some of the congestion on Atlanta Highway and get that traffic on the loop without taxing the surrounding roadways," Moore said.

No money is available for the $28 million interchange, and engineering, right-of-way acquisition or construction won't begin before 2011.

For years, the DOT has planned to rebuild several perimeter interchanges, including ones at Olympic Drive, Lexington Road and Atlanta Highway, to handle increasing traffic.

To pay for the new interchange, MACORTS, a board of officials and residents that oversees state-funded transportation projects in Clarke, Oconee and Madison counties, will scale back plans for three other local projects.

Road planners will give up a project that would widen travel lanes and add a center turn lane to South Milledge Avenue between Whitehall and East Campus roads, saving $8 million. They'll scrap wider travel lanes from long-range plans for Jefferson River Road, saving $9 million.

MACORTS also is drastically cutting back a politically unpopular four-lane road connecting U.S. Highways 29 and 441. Instead, they now want to build a two-lane road connecting U.S. 29 to Danielsville Road, primarily to serve fire trucks at a new fire station in that neighborhood, Moore said. That change will save $11 million.

MACORTS is likely to approve the changes when its policy committee meets this morning. The changes will be open to public comment for 15 days beginning Feb. 25, Moore said.

The DOT also has pushed back $1 million in funding to buy land for an East Athens trail along an abandoned railroad from this year to next year.

Published in the Athens Banner-Herald on 021308
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