As promised, listed below is GDOT’s response to CORR’s questions about the 411 Connector. The meeting took place immediately after GDOT’s October board meeting.
The cost estimate documents GDOT provided did not support the State Transporation Improvement Program (STIP) cost projection for the road, so we are following up to clarify that information before posting it. Please check back soon (in this blog post) for the latest cost estimate information.
Q & A (directly from GDOT’s deputy press secretary):
Specifically related to the 411 Connector project (661950), how much notification will a property owner be given that they may be affected by the act of eminent domain and/or condemnation?
Once the Department authorizes right-of-way (RoW) funds, the Department will hold a property owners meeting within a few months. Then individuals that own property that is required for the road will be contacted individually to begin the acquisition process.
Where in the “re-evaluation” process is the existing environmental documentation?
There are two items remaining on the re-evaluation:
1) The potential of acidic soil that may affect the [Cherokee] darter fish species investigation. [This study] is almost complete and will be to submitted to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
2) The study of the Dobbins Mine for historic significance and will not be completed until April 2011.
Once both have been completed, the re-evaluation will be submitted to FHWA for approval, perhaps in May 2011.
What is the status of the additional analysis that they believe is being conducted to determine the effect of acid drainage from excavation of Dobbins Mountain into the water/stream system?
The soil borings have been completed and the response to U.S. Fish and Wildlife is being drafted.
The TIP documents they have show three related projects – 008842, 008843 and 008844. They want to know what these projects are, how they are related to the big project, and if the funds associated with these three projects are separate from, or included in, the $182 million listed on project 661950 construction?
Those three project numbers were for tracking earmarked RoW funding that is now included in Project No. 661950 total.
Where are all of the above projects in the funding process? Have funds been identified and allocated already, or are they on a long-term future list with no funding?
RoW acquisition funding is programmed and that acquisition is scheduled to begin this fiscal year (2011). Construction funding is not programmed as yet.
Why is GDOT tearing down a mountain and displacing eagles (birds), instead of just going around?
We are not doing either of these things. This route represents the most cost effective use of taxpayer resources while protecting the environment and fulfilling the project’s need and purpose.
The group believes GDOT’s district office is removing their protest signs from private property. They say they visited the office and saw their signs in the back of GDOT pick-up trucks. They want an explanation of why GDOT is removing their signs placed on private property – said they have asked the property owners for permission to place them.
This issue arises every election season. We have neither the resources nor the interest level to remove signage from private property. We are required by law, however, to remove signs illegally placed within state right of way.