The new 6.1-mile Pegasus Parkway, which connects Whitesville Road to West Point and Roanoke roads, will serve as an alternative route to west LaGrange and the industrial parks.
“The road provides new connectivity and a new transportation route from east to west, south of LaGrange, to allow traffic to bypass our downtown, relieve congestion on downtown streets, Vernon Street and Lukken Industrial Drive,” said Troup County engineer James Emery. “It’s concrete so it won’t require maintenance to the paving surface for a very long time.”
About half of the road is within the LaGrange city limit, half in unincorporated parts of the county.
Five traffic signals are placed at five of road’s nine intersections, including trouble spots at Pegasus Parkway at Whitesville Road and Pegasus Parkway at Orchard Hill Road, according to Emery. The remaining four intersections will have stop signs.
The Dec.19 opening ceremony will feature remarks by county and state officials as well as a musical tribute to LaGrange native and noted music producer Chips Moman.
“After the road opens, it no longer will be the South Loop but will go by its official name of Pegasus Parkway and honoraria name, Chips Moman Highway,” Emery said.
Construction was divided into two phases after the announcement that Kia Motors would build its plant in Troup County, Emery said.
“That produced an urgent need to open up this land for industrial development and therefore we broke the project into two phases with the first phase one that we could deliver early,” he said.
Phase One, which connected Whitesville Road to Sewon Boulevard, opened to traffic in June 2009. It included construction of a 900-foot-long bridge over Blue John Creek and CSX Railroad tracks, providing access to industrial property.
“Because we phased it in and were able to complete the first phase when we did, our community was able to accommodate Sewon, a tier-one supplier that demanded quick access to Kia,” Emery said.
Phase two completed the remaining four miles of roadway and included construction of another bridge, this time a 280-foot-long railroad bridge near the Roanoke Road end.
Bobby Carmichael, executive director of LaGrange Industrial Development Authority, said the new Pegasus Parkway a “significant improvement” for south LaGrange.
“It creates an alternate route for industries that serve the Kia plant,” Carmichael said. “And it opens up Callaway South (Industrial Park) real estate for us to show more acreage to prospects, giving us greater development potential.”
The county’s fiscal contribution to the road project was about $2.3 million, Emery said. The bulk of the project, including all of its second phase, was funded with federal stimulus money through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The state Department of Transportation also helped with the project.
“In the beginning stages, Troup County expended $2.3 million, with most of that initial expense used to develop design plans and conduct environmental impact studies,” said County Manager Mike Dobbs. “In looking back, the approximate 6.5 percent of the total project that we funded was well worth spending from our SPLOST and general budget to achieve this.”
On the north side of LaGrange, work remains to complete the North Loop, which will connect Mooty Bridge Road to Whitesville Road after Waugh Road and Ann Bailey Way are connected.
Using the North Loop, motorists will be able to travel from Mooty Bridge, Waugh, Young’s Mill, Hammett and Davis roads to Whitesville Road.
Plans for Phase III of the North Loop, which involves realigning Waugh Road, are about nearing completion, and the city is in the process of right-of-way acquisition, said David Brown, the city’s director of public services.