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West Winder Bypass plan streamlined

WINDER - The proposed West Winder Bypass construction plan got streamlined this month. It probably won't speed up the beginning construction date, though.

The bypass, which has sat for years on the Atlanta Regional Commission's long-range funding list, was first slated for construction as two separate projects.

"Workers would have begun building in the middle, then built both ends," said Terry Darragh, Barrow County's director of public works.

Barrow County's Board of Commissioners agreed this month to consolidate the two phases into one, which might bring the $80 million price tag down a bit, according to Darragh, but won't get it built any faster because federal highway funds are being sought to build the bypass.

The county is still required to pay roughly $6 million for preliminary engineering, environmental review and right of way acquisition services. GDOT will fund right of way purchases and construction.

The West Winder Bypass came under public fire last summer when the proposed route was changed in order to avoid crossing a historic farm. The new proposed route takes the road through wetlands and gives it an elbow curve as sharp as the law allows, Darragh said.

"That route isn't set in stone, yet," Darragh said.