MONROE, Ga. — For generations, Monroe residents have watched trucks lumber through downtown and wonder when the bypass is coming.
City and state officials now say the shovel will meet dirt sooner rather than later.
“I know this is long awaited, 30 or 40 years depending on who you talk to,” City Administrator Logan Propes told the City Council recently.
Propes and Mayor John Howard met with “literally all of the top brass” of the Georgia Department of Transportation in early July about the proposed state Route 83 Connector.
GDOT proposes to connect Georgia 11 and Georgia 83 with a 4.4-mile highway.
Propes said the GDOT officials “are ensuring that this is a priority for the city of Monroe, which is good to hear because I got word that it had backed up a little bit due to right of way acquisition.”
He said there are about 80 parcels to be acquired for the road, and GDOT plans to “throw extra resources” into the purchasing process.
Propes thanked state Rep. Bruce Williamson of Monroe for getting the meeting scheduled.
“It was very encouraging that they at least want to try to start construction in 18 to 24 months,” Propes said. “They’re going to go on probably the most aggressive right of way acquisition schedule that GDOT’s had in quite some time.”
The project has been discussed for decades, with various plans drawn up over the years. About eight years ago, the city government took over and from 2013-17 collected $500,000 in special purpose local option sales tax money for design and engineering work.
But in 2017, the city handed the project back over to the state.
The proposed route will begin at a new roundabout at Georgia 11 and L&P Parkway south of Monroe, intersect with Brushcreek Drive and connect with Pannell Road.
After crossing Old Monroe-Madison Highway, the new road will swing north, run almost parallel with Gene Bell Road, cross Vasco Adcock Road and tie in with Georgia 83 at its intersection with Unisia Drive and the Good Hope Road.
Officially, the bypass route continues along Georgia 83 to U.S. 78, then follows that route west back to North Broad Street.
Several residents of the Brush Creek neighborhood, a 54-home subdivision off Pannell Road, have signed a petition claiming the bypass “would ruin our community.”
In a retreat with City Council members on Thursday, Propes said GDOT increased the number of properties it would buy in the Brush Creek neighborhood due to concerns about the noise and the intrusion on neighbors.