Will the Town Center shopping complex in Danielsville — and other businesses in the town — be negatively impacted if Hwy. 29 is reshaped to bypass the county seat?
Would a bypass on the eastern side of Hwy. 29 serve Madison County better than one on the west, considering that the schools are to the east?
The Hwy. 29 project is on the drawing board again and Department of Transportation officials were on hand to answer questions and receive input from local residents about what’s proposed.
Local officials certainly have their questions about the Hwy. 29 project. For instance, Madison County Commission Chairman Anthony Dove voices concerns about a bypass hurting business in Danielsville by taking the traffic flow out of the town. And he expresses a pretty common sentiment in the county in preferring an eastern bypass to a western one.
Meanwhile, property owners along Hwy. 29 have faced a considerable waiting game, one with few certainties and too many maybes. The Hwy. 29 widening and bypass project was a hot topic about 10 years ago when the DOT held public meetings on the matter and folks wondered about their future. The change seemed imminent.
But the DOT quickly put on the brakes and the talk of the project died away. Now, there’s federal stimulus money flowing and the discussion is alive again. But there are still no definites, no dates. The project is considered “long range,” according to DOT spokesperson Teri Pope.
And I anticipate a long period of frustrated head scratching for those who could be most affected.
Of course, state officials must look at transportation through a big lens. How a road project affects a little town is something the DOT will consider, but the overall transportation picture is the focus of state officials. There are local interests to consider, but they must be aware of state, regional and federal transportation flows, too.
Ultimately, what do the traffic counts show? How can that traffic be accommodated?
I understand big picture thinking, but I’m also puzzled at times about the decision making. I’m appreciative of efforts to keep state routes properly surfaced. If you get outside of Georgia, you can quickly recognize that our roads are in better shape than many other places.
But some projects seem like a stretch. I felt this way about the Hwy. 106 project, which was initiated in October 2007 and continued for many months. It cost $4 million and caused considerable inconvenience for local residents, along with wear and tear on local roads that were used as alternate routes. I drive that road frequently, but I still don’t understand the necessity of the alterations. As it was, the road was hilly, but not really curvy.
I think improving the path of Hwy. 29 makes more sense than the Hwy. 106 project. There are more dangerous curves and blind spots. Think of that left turn off Booger Hill Road. It’s pretty dicey. And if the DOT can eliminate some of those danger zones and improve safety, then it’s accomplished something worthwhile.
However, I don’t see the Hwy. 29 project as particularly necessary from a traffic flow point of view. There is considerable traffic in Danielsville at school time — less now that the middle school has moved — but the highway seems capable of handling the overall traffic flow. There are highways in this state that are frequently clogged. And Hwy. 29 is not one of them.
Ultimately, the DOT will move or sit on 29. And many folks will move or sit, too, depending on what they do.
We’ll follow the story as it unfolds. But 10 years ago, the Hwy. 29 project loudly approached like a mufferless Mustang — one that petered out before it reached us. And I’m not sold on this current engine having the fuel to reach us either.
Zach Mitcham is editor of The Madison County Journal.
The turn off Booger Hill Rd. isn't dicey at all. It's more of an optical illusion. It looks like a blind curve, until you see a car coming. Even if you turn out when a car is already visible, you have plenty of time to complete the turn. There has never been even one accident there related to visibility in the turn. The only accidents that have happened were because people ran the stop sign and went across 29 into the trees.
08/10/09 at 08:27 PM
If you saw me coming toward Danielsville and still pulled out of Booger Hill Rd in front of me, I would be pretty ticked off.
You don't have "plenty of time to complete the turn." You might have plenty of time to make sure that if you get hit by the oncoming car it is in the rear end instead of the side.