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Oconee Official: Move Bishop and Widen 441

Photo Credit: Lee Becker

Abe Abouhamdan, chairman of the Citizen Advisory Committee for Land Use and Transportation Planning.

The Madison Athens-Clarke Oconee Regional Transportation Study (MACORTS) Policy Committee took the first step on Wednesday toward reactivating the construction of a bypass of Bishop and the four-laning of U.S. 441 from Watkinsville to the Apalachee River.

The project now goes to the public comment stage, with a key meeting to be held from 5–7 p.m. on Feb. 24 in the Community Center at Oconee Veterans Park.

If the project is approved again by the Policy Committee on Apr. 8, the Georgia Department of Transportation has promised to provide $1 million for preliminary engineering in the current fiscal year for the roadway.

The route of the bypass around Bishop, which has been an obstacle to the project in the past, has yet to be determined and will be established in the design stage.

The U.S. 441 widening and Bishop bypass were an element of a somewhat contentious meeting of the county’s Citizen Advisory Committee for Land Use and Transportation Planning Tuesday night at the community center in Veterans Park.

The committee defeated by a 5-4 vote a motion to tell the Board of Commissioners that the committee considered the construction of a multi-grade intersection at Highway 316 and the Oconee Connector a higher priority than widening of U.S. 441 and construction of the Bishop bypass.

Committee member Stuart Cofer was particularly outspoken in opposition to the construction of a bypass around the city of Bishop, saying that the county should just move Bishop and widen the road. Member Flynn Warren joked that one option would be to buy Bishop and burn the city down.

For more, including video of the meeting, visit Oconee County Observations.