- The proposed US 411 Connector is a road designed to provide a direct connection between Rome, Georgia and I-75.
- Since the US 411 Connector was first proposed, the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) has considered eight possible routes. Despite much opposition and controversy, GDOT settled on Route D-VE a longer and more expensive route than the alternatives.
- Viable alternatives were rejected by GDOT despite being shorter and considerably less expensive.
ROUTE – D-VE
- Route D-VE is a considered by some to be a thinly veiled attempt to revive the highly controversial Northern Arc, a roadway proposal that has been soundly rejected by a broad cross-section of citizens in the region.
- Based on distance and topographic features, Route D-VE is currently estimated to cost approximately $214 million.
- Route D-VE is 2.5 miles longer than other routes and will take much longer to build and cost more than alternative routes.
- Route D-VE will require blasting much of Dobbins Mountain (elevation 1,150 feet) away.
- Other smaller mountains and hills also dot this route and would require significant blasting to make way for the road.
- Route D-VE will require an atypical jughandle interchange with traffic lights, which raises concerns about safety and congestion.
- With state road building budgets already stretched thin, a more expensive route could impact funding for badly needed road projects in other parts of Georgia.
- Route D-VE requires twice as many bridges and overpasses than Route G, which drives up cost and holds much greater potential for negative environmental consequences.
- Route D-VE will impact the Pettit and Nancy Creek watersheds which are home to the Cherokee Darter, which is officially listed as a threatened and federally protected species.
- Stream evaluations for both watersheds indicate the ecosystems as they now exist are already fragile.
- Route D-VE requires crossing watersheds that environmental impact studies have already shown face high conductance and pH levels and bank erosion.
- The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is on record expressing serious concern over the proposed route and the negative impact it will have on threatened and endangered species.
- The 2007 Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (FSEIS) showed the connector impacting 1,191 linear feet of streams – but does not mention three additional streams that will be impacted, totaling an additional 1,010 linear feet.
- As a result of these omissions, the FSEIS underestimates the impact of the 411 Connector to state and federal jurisdictional waters in the Dobbins Mountain area by almost half.
- GDOT will have to excavate – at several points – through one of the area’s most scenic vistas, Dobbins Mountain. The destruction of this mountain will adversely impact and displace wildlife.
- Extensive excavation and engineering will also be required to build the road through adjacent hills and mountains, which will endanger additional ecosystems.
- Excavation of Dobbins Mountain and its acidic minerals will introduce acid drainage into nearby streams and tributaries.
- Route D-VE will encroach upon the historic Mays Family Cemetery as well as Peeple’s Valley Church, the Church at Liberty Square, Christian Fellowship Church and Pine Grove African Methodist Episcopal Church, the latter of which dates to the 1800s.
- Route D-VE would bisect the site of Dobbins Mine, which should be eligible for National Register of Historic Places designation under guidelines published by the U.S. Department of the Interior.
- Dobbins Mine has been in existence since at least 1867 and is recognized as one of the oldest manganese mine in Georgia.
- Field studies have identified 43 earthen features at Dobbins Mine which are the result of historic manganese or ochre mining – 20 of these features are located within the proposed Route D-VE right-of-way and would be destroyed if that route is built.
- Consultants that conducted a 2005 archeological survey for the proposed 411 Connector acknowledged that “the true extent of the (Dobbins Mine) site was not investigated.”
Better, shorter, more economical
- A different route was originally selected by GDOT as the preferred route in 1987.
- That original route, like other routes considered for the 411 Connector, is more cost effective, with cost projections substantially lower than Route D-VE.
- Other alternatives would require less time to build.
- Other routes are shorter, with the shortest being two miles less than Route D-VE.
- Other routes provide direct access to I-75 from Rome.
- Other routes require no new right-of-way for an I-75 interchange.
- The connection for some other proposed routes would be a very simple single lane collector/distributor ramp system, unlike the atypical interchange necessary to connect Route D-VE with the interstate.
- Other routes terminate at I-75 and are not designed to connect with the proposed and highly controversial Northern Arc.
- Other routes run along commercial business corridors, limiting potential impact on residential areas and promoting smart, controlled industrial growth.
- Alternatives to Route D-VE will not require major stream crossings nor would they impact endangered species.
- Other routes encounter fewer topographical changes (i.e., no blasting of mountains required) and necessitate fewer bridges, intersections and rail crossings than Route D-VE.
- Other routes will not encroach upon historical communities, churches or cemeteries.
- Other routes will not require the destruction of historical cultural resources that are an important aspect of the Bartow/Cartersville region’s identity and history.