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2-22-04 Oconee - Jennings Mill Parkway—No Funding In MACORTS Plan

Despite Public Hearings, Published Reports and Signs, Project is Long-Range According to MACORTS

  AVOC Special Photo

Sign at Intersection of Jennings Mill Road & Oconee Connector

  AVOC Special Photo--  Jennings Mill Parkway Intersection With Epps Bridge Parkway


AVOC Article


February 20, 2004


Oconee- Jennings Mill Parkway-  Not In Funding Plan for Six Years


By Wendell Dawson, AVOC Editor


The Jennings Mill Parkway concept was formed in the mid-nineties to afford some frontage road access to areas between Atlanta Highway and the Epps Bridge Pkwy area adjacent to the Athens Loop, University Parkway and Epps Bridge Parkway.  The road would connect these areas and allow access to areas without having to negotiate the Four-Lane highways to travel in this area.  It is planned for local traffic as opposed to much of the “through traffic” on GA 316 at the Oconee Connector.


Oconee acted on the concept and Home Depot, Lowe’s and Kroger Epps Village all are accessed by segments of the Parkway.  A large Apartment complex was built in the Athens-Clarke portion (near the old Target Location).  The road would intersect Highway 78 at the light that lies east of Bernstein’s funeral home.  The apartment developer offered to sell to Athens-Clarke before building but A C-C declined.  It has wanted a major connection behind the shopping center across from the Mall.  As the Oconee Representative involved, I vigorously advocated that the road connect to Hwy 78 and the Loop.  I did not feel most Oconee traffic was headed to the area behind the shopping center at the mall.


 AVOC Special Photo


Jennings Mill Parkway at Epps Bridge Parkway- To Continue Past Lowes and Intersect With Oconee Connector at Jennings Mill Road.


 AVOC Special Photo


 Oconee Connector at Jennings Mill Road--Parkway To Go Over Loop Behind Trees.


The project was supported by GA DOT personnel at State and Regional offices.  The project was one of the last one Commissioner Wayne Shackelford approved for Oconee County before leaving office in the spring of 2000.


Oconee County has a public presentation scheduled on Phase I of Jennings Mill Parkway for February 24, 2004, from 4-7:00 PM at the Oconee Civic Center.   However, no funding is on the horizon according to the current MACORTS Transportation Improvement Plan (TIP) for Federal-State funding.


A review of the Plan on the MACORTS (Madison, Athens-Clarke-Oconee Regional Transportation Study) shows the project not funded in the next six years.  Total cost is estimated at  $2,107,000 and no money is committed for construction during the next six years of the TIP.


Phase II in Athens-Clarke, parallel road to Hwy 78, near the Mall, is scheduled for construction in the next couple of years.  It is being funded with local money.


One can review MACORTS projects involving Oconee County at: http://www.athensclarkecounty.com/~planningdept/document/MACORTS_TIP.pdf


1.  Jennings Mill Pkwy—Oconee ----     Page-  130;

2.  Jennings Mill Pkwy- Athens-Clarke –Page- 59;

3.   Mars Hill- GA 53 Widening –Pages -26 & 122;

4.   Simonton Bridge Road—Pages 37 & 128;

5.   U S 441 South –Watkinsville-Madison—Pages 32 & 126.


Most of the Oconee larger projects have been pushed further and further out in funding.  Another trend is that Oconee is using more and more Federal Funding for Bridge, Intersection Improvements, Signals and Pavement Management.  These have traditionally been at least partially funded with Local Sales Taxes.  However, Sales taxes have increasingly been allocated to non-transportation projects in Oconee County.


This is disturbing news for transportation funding & construction in Oconee County.  The County is growing too fast for the current state of its road system.  Today’s negligence will be tomorrow’s nightmare!



See Published Articles in A B-H:


The Athens Banner-Herald

SEE: http://www.onlineathens.com/stories/021604/new_20040216014.shtml


February 16, 2004


DOT to reveal plans for Oconee road link


By Mike D’Avria


WATKINSVILLE - The state Department of Transportation will unveil plans for a road linking the Oconee Connector with a shopping hub on Epps Bridge Parkway at a public meeting next week in Watkinsville.
   The informational meeting is set for 4-7 p.m. Feb. 24 at the Oconee County Civic Center on Hog Mountain Road.

………….. which would tie the Oconee Connector with the dead-end of Jennings Mill Parkway next to Lowe's Home Improvement Center. The project will include a bridge over the Athens Perimeter with a northbound entrance ramp and an exit ramp for southbound perimeter traffic.
   Matt Forshee, senior planner for the Oconee County Planning Department, said the project will comprise four main parts, with the major focus on building a road to link Epps Bridge Parkway with the Oconee Connector near where it ends at Jennings Mill Road.


The Athens Banner-Herald

                SEE:   http://www.onlineathens.com/stories/021204/new_20040212053.shtml



February 12, 2004
Consultant to help find best way to connect A-C, Oconee sections

Jennings Mill Parkway plan
By Lee Shearer

   A regional transportation group will pay a consultant $6,000 to figure out the best way to connect the Oconee County and Athens-Clarke County sections of the planned Jennings Mill Parkway.
   The two highway projects were once planned as a continuous stretch of four-line highway connecting the fast-developing northeast Oconee County to the Atlanta Highway corridor.
   But development is moving fast in the area, and since the original planning maps were drawn up in the 1990s, an apartment complex has been built in the original route, and transportation planners in both counties planned new routes for their respective portions of the Jennings Mill Parkway.

   Oconee County's plan includes a four-lane arc that would loop around the intersection of Georgia Highway 316 to a location near the Lowe's building supply store on Epps Bridge Parkway. That loop would connect to the existing Jennings Mill Road.
   Clarke County's section would extend from Jimmie Daniel Road to Huntington Road, ………

   But there's probably a better way to link up the two planned new highways than having them empty onto Jennings Mill Road, said Oconee County Traffic Engineer Mike Leonas at Wednesday's meeting of the Madison Athens-Clarke Oconee Regional Transportation Study……


  MACORTS TIP Page 130 Shows Zero Funding for FY 2007, 08, and 09.


See Upper Right Hand Corner For Cost Estimated at  $2,107,000