Public Gives Mixed Review to U.S. 441 Bypass Proposal

Wed February 02, 2005 - Southeast Edition
Jeff Cronin

It will be at least another six years before contractors can bid on a proposed bypass from Route 22 to Route 22/U.S. 441 in Milledgeville, GA.

And that’s only if the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) decides to go ahead with its current $11-million proposal.

GDOT officials presented tentative plans for a bypass designed to alleviate congestion through the college town in Baldwin County in central Georgia.

Christa McKinney, district planning and programming engineer, said a 1999 study showed approximately 34,000 vehicles passed through a main downtown intersection each day.

The bypass would alleviate 30 to 40 percent of that traffic, she said.

The proposed 2.5-mi. bypass starts on the existing 441 bypass and ties back into the road just north of a Wal-Mart Supercenter.

It would take approximately three years to construct.

The bypass itself would not affect any existing properties since engineers included a railroad overpass, but McKinney said four businesses could be displaced while tying local roads into the bypass.

More than 300 people attended a Jan. 25 open house, at which GDOT unveiled the plans.

“We very rarely in our area see that kind of turn out,” McKinney said.

She said approximately 60 percent of the people were for a bypass, but not in the proposed location. The other 40 percent approved of the proposal.

Should GDOT officials decide to go with the majority of the public’s opinion and head back to the drawing board, it could delay the process for at least three more years.

“We’re left with not very many options,” McKinney said. “This is the best one from an environmental standpoint and from a cost standpoint.”

Depending on the support GDOT gives the proposal, “This project may just eventually end up going away.”