Published Sunday, September 11, 2011
The Newnan Times-Herald
The new names of Walt Sanders Memorial Drive and Walt Sanders Memorial Court won't take effect until Jan. 1.
Last month, the Coweta Board of Commissioners voted to change the names of the roads off Highway 34 East to International Park and Enterprise Court, effective in 45 days. At the time, Commissioners Paul Poole and Tim Lassetter were concerned 45 days would not be enough time for the companies on the roads to prepare.
The reason for the name change is to try and solve the problem of tractor-trailers getting stuck on the railroad tracks at Walt Sanders Road north of Newnan. Walt Sanders Road is a small, dead-end residential street. However, many trucks that are supposed to be traveling Walt Sanders Memorial Drive, which serves the Creekside Industrial Park off Highway 34 East, end up on Walt Sanders Road off U.S. 29 North by mistake.
"I had the opportunity to meet with the people on [what will be] International Park," said Commissioner Bob Blackburn, who spearheaded the name change. "Mr. Poole was right on, and Mr. Lassetter as well, in that the timeline for them to make these changes was a bit tight.
"There are federal and state agencies that need to be contacted," and other issues, Blackburn said.
"I think as an effort of compromise, we might extend that effective date to the first of the year."
The date change wasn't the only aspect of the Walt Sanders issues discussed at the commissioners' meeting.
County staff recently met with representatives of both CSX railroad and the Georgia Department of Transportation to discuss upgrades to the Walt Sanders Road crossing off U.S. Highway 29 North.
Even with the name change, the crossing is still dangerous.
The county's engineering department has been "working on a plan that would basically remove the dip in the road and create a better angle," said County Administrator Theron Gay.
"This week, CSX said once we get the plan, they will review it, and they have committed to helping us with the project -- provided, of course, the county will look at closing the southern access point," Gay said.
There are currently two separate railroad crossings that access Walt Sanders Road, and CSX is "real big on eliminating as many at-grade crossings as they can," Gay said.
GDOT officials indicated "they would look very favorably" on adding bells and whistles, and possibly crossing arms, at the crossing as well.
With the name change, there were also questions over how quickly the GPS systems -- which send drivers to the wrong road in the first place -- would be updated with the new road names.
As it turns out, "we actually had one of the GPS companies contact us about updating the data on roads," Gay said. The county has a standard price, of $1,500, for GIS data. Gay suggested the county consider waiving the fee. "I think it would help the industries that are located in that area."
Wendy Sisson of the GIS department and IT Director Michael Fouts were at Thursday's meeting.
There are basically two companies that provide GPS data -- Tele Atlas and Navteq.
When it comes to GPS updates, "each company has a different policy. Some give free updates," Sisson said. With others, "you can pay for a one-time update," or have a subscription. It's assumed that trucking companies have systems that update regularly.
Navteq bought the county's road centerline data in 2008, and looked into buying it again this summer, Sisson said. "When I told them the price... they told me they would be back" in touch, she said. But, so far, they have not.
With some online mapping systems, "you can submit changes yourself, you can report a problem," Sisson said.
The Georgia DOT is also reviewing its road information and is "moving toward a system" where updates and changes are supplied continually, instead of every three to five years.
Gay said that, even with the name change not officially taking place until Jan. 1, the county can go ahead and notify the companies about the impending changes.
"The sooner we get it to them, the sooner it is going to be updated," Sisson said.
The commissioners voted to make the name change effective Jan. 1, and to waive the fee for GIS data.