The long-awaited Georgia Highway 92 realignment and relocation project in the City of Douglasville and Douglas County now appears ready to move into the actual construction phase early in 2014.
“This is tremendously important news for the citizens of Douglasville and Douglas County,” said Douglasville Mayor Harvey Persons. “We are delighted with the action of the Georgia Department of Transportation and the Atlanta Regional Commission to expedite construction of this important project. After years of waiting and various delays, it is very rewarding to know that the start of construction is only a few months away.”
A similar expression of excitement came from Councilwoman LaShun Burr Danley, Chair of the Douglasville City Council Transportation Committee. She said: “This is great news regarding the Highway 92 project! Many thanks to everyone who worked together, pulled together, and prayed together to finally see the largest transportation project in the City of Douglasville come to fruition.”
Highway 92 is one of the most crucial north-south routes on the west side of the Metro Atlanta area, serving as a major transportation artery for local traffic, as well as a critical commuter route for Cobb County and Paulding County. Also, the current Highway 92 grade level crossing over the Norfolk Southern railroad tracks is a significant congestion bottleneck and a major safety hazard. Mayor Persons noted this will be the first rail grade separation crossing in Douglasville, so vehicular traffic will be able to continue to flow even when trains are passing through the City.
Congressman David Scott said the success in moving the Highway 92 project to construction months in advance of the timetable established three years ago is a testimony to the great working relationship of people at the local, state, and federal levels. “This project would not have happened if we had not formed a team,” he stated.
Congressman Scott said he personally wanted to thank Governor Nathan Deal, Senator Johnny Isakson, Senator Saxby Chambliss, Congressman Lynn Westmoreland, and Congressman Phil Gingrey for their assistance with this project. “We all worked together closely to make this happen for the people of Douglasville and Douglas County.”
Persons and Burr Danley voice similar views, Congressman Scott’s support and involvement in the Highway 92 project had been essential. They praised Congressman Scott and his staff for all of their work and support. Also, they thanked GDOT and ARC officials for their support, with special mention of GDOT associates project manager Peter Emmanuel.
Persons said due to the project’s readiness for construction, the Georgia Department of Transportation a few days ago decided to advance the construction funding from Fiscal Year 2016 to current Fiscal Year 2014. A groundbreaking could come shortly after the first of the new year, he said, and the start of actual construction should come shortly thereafter.
The mayor said: “The City of Douglasville worked hard for many years to make this project a reality by providing required local financial support to pay for project design, preliminary engineering, and environmental requirements.” He noted Douglas County had worked with the City of Douglasville on this project, and that the Atlanta Regional Commission’s involvement had included a commitment of federal funds to support right of way acquisition.
Douglas County Commission Chairman Tom Worthan said: “I am elated that construction funding for the 92 project has been shifted into the F.Y. 2014 Transportation Improvement Plan. We have worked very hard for this project to be funded and completed. As Chair of the ARC Transportation and Air Quality Committee, I look forward to adopting the new TIP and moving this project forward.”
The path of this new multi-lane highway will be located east of the current roadway, starting at the top of the hill where Durelee Lane crosses Fairburn Road (Highway 92) near Chick-fil-a. The relocated highway will be east of the Mill Village community, will cross beneath the railroad tracks and U. S. Highway 78, and will tie into the current Highway 92 (Dallas Highway) just north of the fire station near Malone Road.
John Orr, Manager of the Atlanta Regional Commission’s Transportation Access and Mobility Division, said total construction and utility costs are $65.5 million. The federal share of costs is $52.4 million and the state share is $13.1 million, Orr said. “This project is a true partnership that brought together local governments, the State of Georgia, the Federal Highway Administration, and the Atlanta Regional Commission to address one of the state’s most critical transportation needs.”
Plans call for the project to be built in three phases, though Orr says the entire funding commitment now is set for Fiscal Year 2014. Phase I is from Cooper Street to Ellis Street, and includes the bridge underpass and railroad crossing closures. Phase II is from Cooper Street to Pine Drive. Phase III is from Ellis Street north to Malone Street.
City Council Transportation Committee Chair Burr Danley, whose district includes much of the Highway 92 project, said: “An effective road system, available health and medical facilities, a good telecommunication network, and quality schools, are essential parts of the infrastructure a community needs in order to function effectively. Furthermore, economic growth cannot take place if opportunities are not available. Infrastructure such as the new Highway 92 will enhance the basic functioning of the community, which is necessary to increase resources and create employment."
The project is administered under the Georgia Department of Transportation with funding programmed through the Atlanta Regional Commission’s Transportation Improvement Program.