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Transportation plan to ease growing pains

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June 4, 2008

Valdosta - The Valdosta City Council is considering a major long-term transportation plan.

It outlines 84 projects that will cost more than $200-million and take more than two decades to complete.

Valdosta Mayor John Fretti says adopting this document will be the most courageous thing the City Council has done in decades.  "It's easy to do nothing. It's courageous and bold to try and put a document like this out to digest and consume."

And it will most likely meet some opposition.

"The first thing that's going to strike someone is, you're going to widen the road in front of my house? I don't want it widened," Fretti says.

It's the proposed transportation master plan for the city. The documents colorful pages outline changes and additions that will ease growing pains and congestion.

It ranges from short term goals.  "We are speaking of intersection improvements, adding sidewalks for the school areas so people can walk from their neighborhoods to the school," says John Funny of Grice and Associates, the Atlanta based company responsible for the study.

To large scale projects like public transit, road extensions and creating a bypass that will re-route truck traffic out of the city.

"On a daily basis, we have 2000 tractor trailers coming through our downtown and through residence and vibration, our downtown is crumbling," Fretti says.

"It removes trucks from downtown, it creates more development opportunities in the southern portion of the city and industrial area," Funny adds.

So will the plan cost some people a bit of land? Probably. But city leaders say they'll gain so much more with better roads, sidewalks, traffic and quality of life.

A public meeting Wednesday at 6:00 PM at the City Hall annex will gather feedback on the plan.

The council hopes to get a final version of the plan July 10th.

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