Newnan gets funds to finish McIntosh Parkway
by Celia Shortt
Newnan will be able to complete the McIntosh Parkway project linking Ashley Park and downtown Newnan, as the city was awarded a $1.75 million grant this week through the Georgia Transportation Infrastructure Bank.
Work on the new parkway is anticipated to begin in March 2015 and be completed by mid-2017.
“The GTIB program is an important resource for community improvement districts and local governments seeking supplemental funding needed to move vital transportation projects forward,” said Georgia Governor Nathan Deal on Wednesday. “The projects receiving awards today will not only enhance mobility in local communities, they will also keep Georgia’s business engine moving by improving access to retail and job centers through the state.”
The McIntosh Parkway project – originally titled the East Washington Street Extension – will provide an east-west parkway parallel to and south of Bullsboro Drive.
“We’ve always envisioned the connectivity from downtown Newnan up to Ashley Park or the retail area around Interstate 85,” said Newnan City Manager Cleatus Phillips.
Phillips said city leaders are trying to get the two areas to complement or feed off each other. “(We) see too many communities where the new retail centers kind of dried up their downtown areas,” he said. “That hasn’t been the case here, and we think there are opportunities to thrive off each other.”
The new McIntosh Parkway will include a two-lane road with a center left-turn lane from Farmer Street to Greison Trail, and a four-lane, median-divided roadway east from Greison Trail and ending at the Newnan Crossing Bypass. The proposals for both segments include: a four-foot-wide bicycle lane, curb and gutter, six-foot-wide grass and landscape strips, and six-foot-wide sidewalks. It will also include a new roundabout intersection at Greison Trail.
“The Newnan Crossing Bypass area has become a regional center for retail, commercial and medical services,” said Michael Klahr, engineer for the city of Newnan. “Similarly, downtown Newnan has remained a vital business and commercial center, providing both the city of Newnan and Coweta County government services. … Providing a direct connection between these areas is important for continued economic development of the area.
“Second, the connection will provide roadway capacity to relieve congestion along Bullsboro Drive – State Route 34 – and Lower Fayetteville Road,” he added.
The estimated total cost of the project is $6.9 million, with the city previously earmarking $5.2 million from Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax funds and transportation impact fees. The grant was essential to covering the deficit and allowing the city to complete the project at one time and not in two separate phases.
Klahr said they are hoping to start the project in March 2015, but are still awaiting final instructions from the State Rollway and Toll Authority and GTIB. They also need to complete engineering, environmental assessments, preparation of construction plans, and right-of-way acquisition. The estimated completion date is mid-2017.
A record number of governments and CIDs applied for funds this year to start or complete 58 new projects. The awardees include: cities/towns – Atlanta, Braselton, Dunwoody, Flowery Branch, Gainesville, Johns Creek, Newnan, Sandy Springs and Tyrone; CIDs – Cumberland, Fulton Industrial Boulevard, Gwinnett Place, North Fulton, Red Top and Town Center Area; and counties – Athens-Clarke, Bartow, and Grady. The total amount for these projects was $33 million.
“To date, the GTIB program has provided more than $50 million in funding to jump start or complete transportation projects with a total value of more than $200 million,” said SRTA Executive Director Chris Tomlinson. “The increasing number of GTIB applicants illustrates the state’s commitment to partner with local communities and advance much needed transportation infrastructure improvements. SRTA is proud to assist in speeding up these impactful projects.”
Grant applications were ranked based on transportation/engineering merit, economic merit, local, state and federal matching funds and project specifics, such as the project phase and feasibility. Loan applications are evaluated based on borrower type, project type and loan spend down/repayment abilities, in addition to the merits of the project itself.