The final draft of a transportation plan for 2040 got an official nod Wednesday from the Macon Area Transportation Study, a planning group thats been working on it for months.
Topping the list of endorsed projects is widening Interstates 16 and 75, improving interchanges and replacing bridges. That comes to a cost of nearly $395 million out of a total $685 million in work over the next 27 years.
The committee endorsed the long-range transportation plans final draft, but at the suggestion of Tony Rojas, the Macon Water Authoritys executive director, a work session will be scheduled to delve into its details. That session is tentatively scheduled for 9:30 a.m. March 27 at the Bibb County Engineering Annex, 760 Third St.
The draft plan will be open for public comment for 30 days, said Ken North, transportation planner for the Macon-Bibb County Planning & Zoning Commission. If there are no significant public disagreements, the draft will stand.
The group, in conjunction with state planners, had already eliminated many costly projects in anticipation of reduced federal and state funding, such as extending Eisenhower Parkway over the Ocmulgee River, and proposed widenings of Vineville Avenue and Ga. 247.
This was probably the toughest plan for the policy committee to deal with and decide which ones we were going to eliminate, said Don Tussing, principal planner for the Macon-Bibb County Planning & Zoning Commission. We all had to really look hard.
The transportation plans basic goals go back more than a decade, and many are still very valid, he said.
One of those, now in a slightly different form, emerged as a major recommendation from the group: that all new construction should meet complete streets guidelines, except in very limited circumstances.
Macon has endorsed complete streets, which aim to improve safety and access by providing room for pedestrians, bicyclists and other non-automotive traffic.
The policy committees recommendation includes:
Requiring raised medians with protected turn lanes and turnarounds on any new project with turn lanes;
Gradually replacing flush medians with raised medians, protected turn lanes and turnarounds;
Improving access management on all major roads except interstate highways;
Increase building setbacks from road rights-of-way;
Requiring new developments to combine driveways;
Encouraging new houses to front onto suburban streets instead of major roads; and
Designating important truck and public transit routes.
Tussing said he expects much public discussion of complete streets over the next few years. Many of the recommended changes are technically easy, but politically difficult, he said.
To contact writer Jim Gaines call 744-4489.