During Tuesday night’s City Council meeting, the Council approved a change to construction on Cox Road, adding a center turning lane instead of dual bike lanes. The road will be widened and restriped between Auburn Technology Park and Wire Road.
Ward 8 Council member Tommy Dawson originally brought attention to the road construction during the previous meeting, but on Tuesday he presented a proposal during the Committee of the Whole.
Dawson said his constituents have voiced favor for a turning lane, citing difficulty making left turns into properties along the road.
Ward 2 Council member Griswold stated that the City held a Bike to Work Week in May, so he felt that they should not remove a planned bike lane shortly after a proclamation in support of bikes. He also said that bicyclists currently avoid Cox Road for safety reasons.
City Manager Megan Crouch reminded the Council that the contract was already approved, so any changes may result in delays or extra fees from the construction company.
The project was originally set to be complete by November 2020 but was delayed due to a combination of weather and contractor delays, said Engineering Services Director Alison Frazier.
The Council agreed with a 7-1 vote to add the proposal to the main Council meeting agenda. Parsons voted against adding it and Ward 5 Council member Steven Dixon was absent from the meeting.
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During the consideration of the proposal, Ward 4 Council member Brett Smith asked if the proposal could be postponed to the next Council meeting, allowing more members of the public to be aware of the consideration. Crouch informed him that construction would likely progress within the next two weeks, including more permanent striping of the road.
In addition, both Ward 3 Council member Beth Witten and Ward 7 Council member Jay Hovey expressed concern over losing accountability with the construction crew if the City caused a delay.
Hovey also stated that the road leads to Interstate 85 and that Cox Road will likely be redeveloped in the future to accommodate for potential new developments. New multifamily developments may require a dedicated turning lane, which would potentially cause the removal of the bike lanes.
The Council voted to approve the proposal with a 5-3 vote. Smith, Parsons and Griswold voted in opposition, preferring the original contract that included bike lanes.
Earlier in Tuesday night’s meeting, the Council unanimously approved to annex and zone land for Buc-ee’s on the Northeast corner of the intersection of Cox Road and Interstate 85. The decisions were postponed from the previous meeting where the City granted conditional use approval, giving Buc-ee’s the go-ahead to purchase the land.
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