November 8, 2006


On Monday, November 13, starting at 6:00PM in the City Visitor’s Center (City Municipal Bldg on the Square), the Georgia Department of Transportation, through the Tennille district office, will hold a “public involvement workshop”. Jasper County residents will have an opportunity to talk with state planners about long-range transportation needs for the area.

Topics could range from roads, freight routes, and aviation to rail lines, bike paths, and sidewalks. The needs of “developing areas” will also be a focus. This is likely the reason Putnam, Greene and Morgan counties are part of the same study. One hope for the planning process is “communication” among the four counties about common transportation needs.

Quoting from the Eatonton Messenger, “We would like to see some interconnection and thinking on the same wave length,” said Vonda Everett, planning and programming engineer in the DOT’s Tennille District office. “So far, we have gathered information and been to our advisory board. Now it is time to hear from the public about what direction they would like to go in the future. Of course, a lot of what they might want may already be on the books in our (six-year) Construction Work Program.”

The Monday night workshop will begin with a 15-minute presentation on the scope of the study. Another 15 minutes or so is set up for general questions and answers. The remainder of the time will be spent at display boards around the room, with DOT officials listening and answering more detailed questions about individual concerns. “We need to know what the public knows about what we do and can do,” Everett said. “For instance, they may know about needs for bike lanes and pedestrian walkways near parks and schools that we don’t know about... And we’ve had people tell us that all they are interested in a bypass to get traffic out of downtown and otherwise leave them alone. They want to keep the integrity of their small town.”

The transportation plan under development this year and next will look two to three decades into the future, and will eventually become part of a statewide plan. While such a long-range
plan will be somewhat generalized, it will be used to coordinate planning around the state for consistency. “There’s a study in place to the west (Atlanta) and the north (Athens). This is sort of closing the gap,” Everett said. It will be used as a basis for more detailed plans in the DOT’s six-year Construction Work Program and the even more detailed (and funded) three-year Transportation Improvement Program (TIP).

The BOC appointed the Multi-County Transportation Study Advisory Group at its October meeting. That group consists of Walter Smith (EDA member), Ken McMichael (JCWSA member), Robert Jordan (citizen), Bill O’Keeffee (EDA member), David Dyer (Farmer’s Market Director), Jerry Lazar (citizen).


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