By Valerie Baldowski
A new, $3.5 million Park and Ride lot, complete with 1,040 parking spaces, is planned for Henry County.
Officials want to improve a smaller, existing lot on Jodeco Road to expand Xpress bus service in the area, according to Shaun Green, a transportation engineer for the Georgia Regional Transportation Authority (GRTA).
"GRTA has existing service in McDonough, along Avalon Parkway, and in Stockbridge, at Ga. Highway 138," said Green. "The lot location at Jodeco was chosen to provide an additional service point along the I-75 corridor, in between the existing service locations, to better serve our existing customers and hopefully earn more customers. GRTA's experience is that there is significant demand for the Xpress service in this corridor."
Funds for the construction project will come from the state's Department of Transportation, and GRTA.
"Right-of-way acquisition is under way," said Marlo Clowers, a project manager for the Georgia Department of Transportation. "It's currently scheduled to be [awarded for] construction in August, [and] construction is expected to begin this fall." The work is expected to take 12 months to complete, she said.
The state Department of Transportation "will pay the upfront costs of construction, and will be reimbursed by GRTA through a Federal Transit Administration grant," Clowers added.
The parking lot will be located on 15 acres north of Holloway Road, and west of Patrick Henry Parkway, off Interstate 75. It will be built next to the northbound ramp from Jodeco Road, said David Simmons, an engineer with the Henry County Department of Transportation.
Once the new parking lot is built, commuters will park their vehicles adjacent to the area where the buses will arrive and depart, and walk 500 to 600 feet to board the buses, Simmons said. "As far as parking, drivers will drive up Patrick Henry Parkway to park," he added.
The new lot will replace a smaller, existing lot at the same location, which offers 30 spaces, state and local officials said.
"The existing lot will go away," said Green. "It will get absorbed into the larger lot, and into the right of way for the proposed lot."
Last month, the Henry County Board of Commissioners approved granting right of entry to GRTA for access to a section of Holloway Road, in preparation for the construction.