As reported by the media, the Greater Rome Chamber of Commerce recently encouraged residents to mail letters of support to decision makers about the Georgia Department of Transportation’s proposed route (Route D-VE) for the U.S. 411 Connector. Unfortunately, the chamber included several inaccurate and misleading points about Route D-VE and alternate/modified routes. The red copy, as listed below, will detail several corrections and clarifications. The remaining, black copy is verbatim from the chamber’s letter.
This letter is in support of completing the US411 to I-75 Connector, Bartow County, Cartersville, Ga. I am writing you to request that you support the GADOT’s recommended Route D-VE. This route was selected after looking at many routes. Based on all required design criteria, route D-VE was selected as the BEST route to meet these criteria. This decision has since been validated by two separate, but important steps. One, in 2004, this route was placed on the Federal Highway Priority List. No, Route D-VE was not placed on the Federal Highway Priority List. Route D-VE was not selected until three years later, when the “Final” Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement was issued in 2007. In 2004, concepts for routes were being initially “screened.” Unfortunately, routes that were cheaper for taxpayers and less destructive to the environment were excluded from detailed study by this “screening” process. Expert engineers designed a road that met all the specifications of the federal and state law. Two, this design was validated by the Federal Highway Administration’s signing the Record of Decision (ROD) on October29, 2008. This signaled that the exhaustive environmental documentations for federally funded projects was complete. GDOT has obviously not completed this “exhaustive environmental documentation.” According to GDOT’s own records, over the last year GDOT has been required to conduct re-evaluation studies directed by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to address potential impacts to protected species and historic resources that GDOT has yet to fully study. Despite a federal agency directing GDOT to address the potential for acid drainage at the proposed excavation of Dobbins Mountain, GDOT has yet to even attempt to discover the acid-producing potential of excavating and exposing rock at the proposed Dobbins Mountain “cut,” much less the potential impact of acid drainage to the threatened Cherokee darter. GDOT has just recently asked to perform surveys of waters in the path of Route D-VE that were pointed out to the agency (but ignored) over a year ago.
Personal remarks paragraph here
Route G is the route supported by opponents of Route D-VE.There are homes and subdivisions of families in the right-of-way of Route G. Of course, the same is true of Route D-VE. The cost of buying and demolishing these homes and subdivisions is conveniently omitted in the cost calculations of that route and those in favor don’t mention the upheaval of the families lives in the path of their route. Not true, Route G estimates include preliminary right-of-way purchases, etc. – click on chart (which has been posted on the Internet for more than a year.) More importantly, if the Rome Chamber would look at county records, it would discover that Route D-VE affects more families and property than Route G. Engineers have concluded that 56 parcels of land (containing homes and businesses) would be negatively impacted by the construction of Route D-VE. Route G would impact 42 parcels of land. One could conclude that Route D-VE would cost taxpayers more, as it requires more right-of-way purchases. Also note that Route D-VE requires more than twice the number of expensive bridges and overpasses than Route G. Route D-VE also requires a very costly and complicated interchange with I-75.
Additionally, engineers have determined Route D-VE’s interchange with I-75 will cost several millions more than an interchange for Route G. Finally, the cost to excavate Dobbins Mountain, which the feds deliberately avoided during the construction of I-75, only increases the project cost and potential for environmental harm. Unlike GDOT’s Route D-VE, Route G follows the area’s natural topography and does not require excavation through a mountain. Also, as recently as March,2011,these opponents are asking the GaDOT to consider other modified routes, one of the modified routes would link the connector to SR 20 and another would connect the road to US 411/SR 61. Both modified routes would provide motorists prompt access to I-75 and remain far quicker than existing routes SR20 and US 41 through Cartersville. However, both of these would dump traffic onto already congested highways!! Where the connector would join with US 411/SR 61 is hardly congested. One of these modified routes (or another modified route) should be adopted to save taxpayers millions of dollars and provide prompt access to I-75.
Bartow County ,Floyd County ,Northwest Georgia,and Northeast Alabama need RouteD-VE. Route DVE is very important for the economic development of these communities.Please lend your support and backing to the immediate building of RouteD-VE.
(P.S. – No matter the environmental cost, taxpayer cost and laws)