Landscaping grant for 85 interchange

by Sarah Fay Campbell

Newnan has been awarded a $50,000 grant for landscaping and beautification work at the Interstate 85 interchange at Bullsboro Drive.

The GATEway Grant – for Georgia Transportation Enhancement – is funded by the Georgia Department of Transportation. The grants are used to beautify areas around state highways.

The city applied for the grant in January. When work on the interchange was done several years ago, a large number of trees were cut down, and hopes are to reforest part of that area, said Mike Furbush, city of Newnan landscape architect.

Furbush said the city is currently working on plans for the improvement projects. Consulting firm Robert and Company will also be involved helping to put together construction plans.

“We will be putting together construction documents over the next four to six weeks” and submitting them to GDOT for review, Furbush said, with hopes to begin the work by the end of the year.

There’s a lot of improving that can be done at the interchange, and it will take much more than $50,000. “We’re doing it in stages, because $50,000 would not go very far out there,” Furbush said.

He said the plan will be to start with the southbound off-ramp, as it is considered a gateway into Newnan. There may also be some work done along the sidewalks under the bridge, and some mass plantings at the bridge abutments.

Along the sidewalk guardrails, there might be some brick, pavement, or gravel installed. Furbush said. Right now, the grass that grows around the guardrails is creating a maintenance issue, he said.

When the new northbound half-cloverleaf ramp was built, a lot of trees were taken out and replaced with grass. There may be enough money to plant a few trees there, with more to come in the future.

“We’re still working on the details of that and what will be acceptable to GDOT. We will have more details as we get into the actual construction,” Furbush said.

He’d like for the city to be able to get additional grant money in the future, so that the city can improve the entire area around the interchange.

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