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5-27-12 Oconee Connector –Mega Shopping Center – Boon or Traffic Jams?

Epps Centre sounds like a positive economic development for the county. However, it will serve to dump more traffic onto curvy Jennings Mill Road and two-lane Mars Hill Road. The connector and bridges were planned to allow traffic to circulate in the area without getting off and on GA 316. We wanted to avoid the “Mall Mess” but now we may be facing “Melvin’s Mess”!

AVOC

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May 20, 2012

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Oconee Connector –Mega Shopping Center – Boon or Traffic Jams?

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By Wendell Dawson, Editor, AVOC, Inc

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The Oconee Connector was a good idea.  It was developed in the 90’s by Peter Mallory, GA DOT and me as Chairman of the BOC, and others.  The Mars Hill Corridor Parkway project was planned to be built first and should have been started around 2002-3.  Chairman Melvin Davis was instrumental in switching priorities and allowing the connector to be built first thus putting two-lane traffic onto existing two-lane roads.

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The new Epps Centre sounds like a positive economic development for the county.   However, it will serve to dump more traffic onto curvy Jennings Mill Road and two-lane Mars Hill Road.    The connector and bridges were planned to allow traffic to circulate in the area without getting off and on GA 316.   We wanted to avoid the “Mall Mess” but now we may be facing “Melvin’s Mess”!

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The sidewalks etc are nice.   However, they need mowing and maintaining.   At this time, they are growing weeds.    The County must provide resources for this type maintenance.

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Jennings Mill Relocated – 6.18.10 –Contractor was cutting grass- Not cut recently

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Economic Development, Public Safety and Recreation are all important but so is a good transportation system, litter free streets etc that appeal to businesses that are looking at Oconee County.  Hopefully, vision and better planning will have more influence than Developers on future county officials.  We can do better!

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Oconee Connector 4.30.PM.May 2012

Oconee Connector at GA 316- University Parkway at beginning of rush hour –May 2012

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Oconee Connector at GA 316- University Parkway –Rear View Mirror View –May 2012


HISTORY AND BACKGROUND ON OCONEE CONNECTOR

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Oconee.Connector.Jennings.Mill.Pkwy.Project.3.08.pdfx

Maps of Oconee Connector and Mars Hill Widening Projects

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Oconee Connector Jennings Mill Parkway MACORTS 3 08.pdfx

Priority of Mars Hill Road Project Vs Oconee Connector was changed -08

6-21-08 Questions About Melvin Davis’ $ 26 Million Road Project

   http://www.avoc.info/info/article.php?article=3895&ENGINEsessID=51d345180345d122ba2925a4434922d9xc

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The Athens Banner-Herald -June 20, 2008 -By Adam Thompson

   http://onlineathens.com/stories/062008/news_20080620015.shtml

     Mayor to DOT: Are road projects frozen or not?

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Athens-Clarke Mayor Heidi Davison on Thursday asked state transportation officials to make up their minds - are future road projects frozen or not?

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Davison said she was confused recently when DOT officials green-lighted more construction money for a new road in Oconee County, just weeks after saying they were shifting projects and narrowing focus because of a budget crisis.

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"This is not about Oconee County, and it's not about the project. It's about fairness," Davison said Thursday at a called meeting of MACORTS, the tri-county transportation planning committee.

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Though the committee later voted unanimously to increase the Oconee project's budget to $ 26 million, Davison and another MACORTS member, Lucy Rowland, said they'd like a letter from DOT officials explaining exactly what "frozen" means.

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Rowland also called the circumstances of the special meeting, which quickly was scheduled last week, "strange."

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"I don't recall something coming in like this (in the past)," said Rowland, a longtime MACORTS member and current chairwoman of the Athens-Clarke County Planning Commission……..

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5-25-10 Oconee Connector Project Over Loop- Economic Opportunity or ‘Road to nowhere’ or Both?    http://www.avoc.info/info/article.php?article=4091&ENGINEsessID=1ef4392fefa1feca8d9ec7167a71f16f

…….We wanted traffic to and from this commercial node to be able to access businesses without having to get on and off GA 316 or the Epps Bridge Parkway.   It was Oconee’s attempt to avoid the ‘Mall Mess” on Highway 78 in Athens-Clarke County….

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6-19-10 Oconee Connector – Jennings Mill Rd Relocation takes interesting turns

          http://www.avoc.info/info/article.php?article=4096

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3-13-07 Oconee Road Projects and Priorities taking back seat to Development Projects

               http://www.avoc.info/info/article.php?article=3711

    Oconee Road Projects like the improvements to Experiment Road- Mars Hill Corridor, Widening of U S 441 between Watkinsville & Madison, Connector between GA 15 and U S 441 south of Watkinsville and the upgrading of GA 316 seem to have lost priority and boosting in the Melvin Davis Administrations.

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   While the listed projects are heavily traveled and have been “in the works” for years, they seem to have fallen even further behind.Projects connected to Developers have fared better, whether heavy traffic or not:   Jennings Mill Parkway Extension, behind Lowes over to the Oconee Connector, Accel-Decel Lanes on GA Hwy 53 for developments, a traffic light at Hog Mountain Road and Government Station Road at the property of USDA and a commercial tract acquired by Tom Little and Steve Ebert.   These two projects have merit. However, in my mind they do not rank above the Mars Hill Corridor or the GA 15 – US 441 Connector.

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12-13-06 State Road Projects Delayed – Oconee Mars Hill Corridor on List

           The Athens Banner Herald-December 13, 2006       Morris News Service

                 http://onlineathens.com/stories/121306/news_20061213050.shtml

    Planned road projects postponed by shortfall-By Vicky Eckenrode

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      ATLANTA - State transportation officials have been sounding the alarm for several weeks that a funding shortfall is threatening future road projects.

     Now, the state Department of Transportation is warning the driving public that plans to widen roads, rebuild interchanges and improve bridges throughout the state have been delayed.

    The DOT on Tuesday launched a Web site detailing $ 7.7 billion worth of projects that had been slated to begin construction or study sometime in the next six years, but have been lopped off the department's priority list.

       ON THE SHELF

            These are local road projects the state Department of Transportation has delayed because it does not have enough money for future improvements.

   OCONEE COUNTY

- Widening Georgia Highway 53 and Mars Hill Road from Georgia Highway 15 to Georgia Highway 316 and the Oconee Connector; $ 20.7 million construction work originally planned for 2012.

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Review of Oconee Transportation Priorities - U S 441 etc.pdfx

Melvin Davis Changed Road Priorities from the list left by my Administrations


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