Poplar interchange open house Thursday

by Sarah Fay Campbell

The public open house meeting on the plans for the Poplar Road interchange will be Thursday from 4 to 7 p.m. at the Central Educational Center.

It's an informal, dropin meeting, and there won't be a formal presentation. Instead, representatives from the Georgia Department of Transportation, consultants, and Coweta County staff will be on hand to discuss the project.

The project includes a new interchange on Interstate 85 at Poplar Road, and associated widening of Poplar near the interstate. The hearing is on both the interchange design and the draft environmental document for the project.

Poplar will become a fourlane, divided road, with turn lanes, between the Newnan Crossing Bypass and Newnan Crossing Boulevard.

The new interchange will be a standard 'diamond' interchange, with traffic lights.

The draft environmental document has been approved by the Federal Highway Administration, said Tod Handley, Coweta's director of transportation and engineering. 'It is just a draft until it goes out for public comment,' Handley said.

A copy of the lengthy report will be available at the open house.

Handley said they are expecting a good crowd at the meeting. 'We've had a big outreach effort,' Handley said. Fliers have been distributed at local businesses and churches, as well as West Georgia Tech.

A court reporter will be on hand to take public comments on the project. Comments may also be submitted in writing.

Those who cannot attend the meeting can see the plans and handouts at the Coweta Transportation and Engineering Office, at 12 East Washington Street in downtown Newnan, at the GDOT area office at 1107 Hogansville Road in LaGrange, or online at www.dot.ga.gov. From the home page choose 'information center' then 'public outreach' to search by county.

Comments should be mailed to Glen Bowman, State Environmental Administrator - Georgia DOT, 600 West Peachtree Street, 16th Floor, Atlanta, GA 30308. All comments will be considered in the development of the final project design and must be received by Dec. 13.

Once the comments are incorporated, the plans for the project have to go through 'preliminary field plan review' and then final approval of the design.

Once a final design is in place, right-of-way acquisition can begin. Hopes are to begin acquiring right-of-way late next summer, with the project being let for construction in January of 2016. Construction is expected to take two years.

The project is being paid for with a combination of local, federal, and state funds. Coweta County is responsible for acquiring right-of-way.



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