VALDOSTA — The city approved a resolution Thursday supporting re-routing heavy truck traffic from Downtown Valdosta.

After Valdosta City Council unanimously voted in favor of the resolution, several members of the public and elected officials voiced their support for the Georgia Department of Transportation truck bypass.

The resolution is an effort to drum up support for the bypass. A specific route has not been set yet for the bypass.

Mayor John Gayle said council will get a chance to review potential routes before one is chosen.

"This thing is a 10-year $100 million project that will be paid for through state and federal funds and our T-SPLOST money," Gayle said. "That means we'll have help from people from the surrounding counties to pay for that."

Earlier this year, Georgia Department of Transportation Board Chairman Tim Golden and state transportation officials shared truck bypass proposals with The Valdosta Daily Times.

Paul Tanner, GDOT state transportation planning administrator, said an analysis had been completed for creating two potential routes with variations on each for a truck bypass in Valdosta from U.S. 84 and State Route 38 around downtown. Included in the bypass project was a railroad crossing overpass on St. Augustine Road south of U.S. 84.

Also, council approved two Pine Tree Road properties to be rezoned to single-family residential after residents voiced concern at a previous city meeting. This was the first step in a broader process to get the properties rezoned. There will be more meetings on this item.

In a rare bid, the City of Valdosta made a request to the Valdosta City Council to initiate the rezoning review and public-hearing process for the properties at 405 and 407 Pine Tree Road. 

The rezoning case began five years ago when a developer had eight parcels along Baytree Road and Pine Tree Road zoned for multi-family residential. However, the large project failed and the property was eventually broken into smaller parts.

In July, two developers requested building two apartment buildings with one along Pine Tree Road. A crowd of Pine Tree Road residents attended the meeting voicing concern about the projects, but both were approved.

After the meeting, Councilman Andy Gibbs requested the city switch back the zoning of the remaining parcels to make sure no large developments can be built on Pine Tree.

The city then approved a request from the Valdosta-Lowndes County Airport Authority to accept a contract from the state transportation department to widen taxi lanes on the north ramp, design airport drainage improvements, proceed with acquisition of property located within the Runway 17/35 Protection Zone and conduct an Air Traffic Control Tower Phase II Siting Study.

The council meets 5:30 p.m. on the first and third Thursday of the month in city hall on Lee Street. All residents are encouraged to attend.

Thomas Lynn is a government and education reporter for The Valdosta Daily Times. He can be reached at (229)244-3400 ext. 1256

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