Public meeting to be held on West Winder Bypass

WINDER - It was seven years and eight days ago that representatives from the Georgia Department of Transportation were surprised by more than 500 people who showed up to a public information open house, most of them opposed to the East Winder Bypass.

On Tuesday, Barrow County residents will have an opportunity to ask questions about the West Winder Bypass, a new version of the road expected to ease traffic congestion in Winder.

Teri Pope, a GDOT spokeswoman, said she expects 350 people to come to the community meeting at Haymon Morris Middle School, but is prepared for even more.

"As folks in Barrow County know, public input changes and stops DOT projects," Pope said.

In 1999, three alternatives for the East Winder Bypass were presented to the community, but none of them got much support. Usually, Pope said, one plan emerges as a favorite after such a meeting.

Pope said she did not know how many plans would be presented Tuesday, but that people would have an opportunity to look at displays showing the plans and ask questions of GDOT and the county. Barrow County paid for most of the engineering for the West Winder Bypass, she said.

The project would widen Patrick Mill Road to a four-lane divided highway from Tom Miller Road to 1,000 feet south of Burson Maddox Road, then build a new road and bridge over Ga. Highway 8, the CSX Railroad Track and Bankhead Highway, crossing Pearl Pentecost Road and connecting to Ga. Highway 211. The proposed bypass is a 5-mile-long, four-lane divided highway with a raised concrete median.

The information will be available on the department's Web site at www.dot.state.

ga.us beginning Wednesday, Appointments can be made to see the displays in Lawrenceville by calling 770-339-2308.

Comments can also be sent to Harvey Keeper, Georgia DOT, 3993 Aviation Circle, Atlanta, GA 30336 by Oct. 9.

Pope said she did not know how the information would be received this time around, but that the West Winder Bypass would benefit both the city and the region.

The road would allow traffic to flow both through and around Winder, she said, making it easier for people who were going to the city to get to their destinations.