Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Georgia Department Of Transportation Drops Plans For Truck Bypass Of Bishop

***U.S. 441 South Of Bishop To Be Widened***

The Georgia Department of Transportation has abandoned its plans for a truck bypass of Bishop, moving the funding for the project into “long range,” according to Project Manager Bruce Anderson Jr.

GDOT made the decision because of a “lack of public consensus for the proposed alignment within Bishop,” Anderson said.

GDOT will move forward with the four-lane widening of U.S. 441 from Astondale Road south of Bishop to the Madison Bypass in Morgan County.

That widening will follow the existing roadway, consistent with plans presented to the public within the last year.

The four lanes of traffic at Astondale Road will then be forced to two lanes to move through Bishop and north to the Watkinsville Bypass.

“Transportation needs within Bishop will be considered in the future,” Anderson said.

Follow To September Notice

In late September, GDOT announced that was moving forward with the plans for the widening of U.S. 441 south of Bishop along the existing route.

Project Map (Click To Enlarge)

The announcement also said a truck bypass of Bishop was the “more appealing alternative for localized traffic in the area.”

GDOT emphasized that it was “still evaluating the design and impacts” of the truck bypass on the east side of Bishop.

Strong opposition to that bypass had been expressed by landowners, including the University of Georgia, which has its equestrian facility on Astondale Road near where the proposed bypass would run.

That September letter also said that moving the bypass further east, as had been proposed earlier, would “increase proposed project costs, right-of-way impacts, and displacements of businesses and/or residences.”

Email Confirmation

I sent Anderson an email message at 8:38 p.m. Wednesday asking him if “GDOT has abandoned the truck bypass proposal for Bishop?” Anderson is based in Statesboro.

I had just read a Facebook post from Laurel Whitmire saying her property “will remain a peaceful, calm, beautiful rural landscape.”

Whitmire’s property would have been disrupted by the route of the truck bypass.

Anderson responded at 10:46 p.m. saying “Yes that is correct Mr. Becker.”

The remainder of his email follows:

“Due to the lack of public consensus for the proposed alignment within Bishop, GDOT will not move forward with the localized bypass alignment.

“The funding for this project (0015925) has been moved to long-range and the transportation needs within Bishop will be considered in the future.

“GDOT will continue move forward with the 4-lane widening of US 441 south of Astondale Road (PI 0013613 & 0013617) to the Madison Bypass in Morgan County.”


Nedra Johnson said...

What a joke. DOT has been "considering" the traffic needs of Bishop since 1990! All we, who live in Bishop and have to deal with this traffic, want is a red light at the Price Mill Road and Old Bishop Road crossing and a pedestrian light and crossing somewhere near the Bishop Post Office. DOT says that is too dangerous, traffic lights cause wrecks. I believe doing nothing will cause wrecks. Anyone familiar with the area knows how dangerous it is.

Anonymous said...

Another case of local politicians not helping communities. It is a design half done. Traffic lights, buzz bars or crossover walkways may have been a consideration for the Bishop downtown area. Now you have faster moving traffic coming to a bottleneck.

Zippity said...

Interesting. I guess I am pleased that the GDOT listened to the citizens, but somewhat surprised that they were unwilling to stick with some roundabouts. They will need something where the 4 lane highway narrows to 2 lanes at Astondale Road. Otherwise no one will be able to go south from Astondale. Also surprised they are not widening to 4 lanes north of Bishop. But perhaps they will change their plan again.

The Bike Jock said...

Wow! I just read your post on GDOT’s latest Bishop update. I’m stunned, altho we shouldn’t be I guess.

I would imagine UGA had something to do with this, along with many others. I often stop while cycling to check in with the folks on Old Bishop Road, and they mostly yawn and say ‘been going on for years and years and prolly years more'…and then yawn again.

If they are going to widen the road, building a traffic circle at that troubled intersection would solve the problem (albeit creating one for the owner of that antique store). I think lots of folks would stop complaining if there was a way to keep that N/S traffic moving. Altho, as noted by others, the real problem only surfaces between about 4 pm and 6 pm on the Price Mill side only.

I commented a month or so ago about the new traffic circle at South Milledge and White Hall / Simonton Bridge. Where there were once backups down to the Bot Garden during afternoon ‘rush’, traffic flows now through there freely and so smoothly. It’s truly miraculous and should serve as a prime example of how these things can work. The folks heading south out of Athens will get an extra 85 hours of valuable time back each year!

I’m delighted with this news, but I cannot visualize the working of 4 lanes down to 2 through those couple of blocks. I would think the old 3-lane plan would help to some degree. Maybe we all just need to take a breath, relax, and deal with the momentary delay. That’s a novel idea.

Thanks, as always, for the great work you do to keep us all informed. Priceless really.

Xardox said...

Bishop sorely needs a real bypass.
Anyone doing business near the main drag will go there
unencumbered by heavy four-lane traffic if there was one.
The bypass of Watkinsville was a Godsend for Main Street.
And, yes, the UGA Equestrian cabal had a LOT to do
with putting the kibosh on a real bypass.
Those who know something about horses knows that the animals
adapt quickly to the presence of traffic.
Sort of like how they handle the bustle of the competition itself.

Anonymous said...

Who wants to sit on a horse when a big truck bac fires?