While I fully understand that Rome wasn’t built in a day — I never realized that building a road to Rome could take 35 years!
For years, economic growth in the area has been stymied due to the lack of a direct connector from U.S. 411 to I-75. When you research this to discover how long we have been suffering, it is shocking to realize the timeline for events leading up to this transportation project! A project that STILL has not been completed.
1977— Local officials sought a straight-shot connector from I-75 to U.S. 411 as the interstate was being built. Georgia Department of Transportation promised to remove all traffic signals but one on U.S. 41 to make the driver quicker (currently no less than seven traffic lights)
1985 — Georgia DOT selects Ridge Route (Route G) as potential route and beings environmental studies
1988 — Preferred Route D-VE is determined to be more advantageous which cuts through Rollins property and this decision is unveiled at a March public hearing
1989 — Final environmental Impact Statement approved by Federal Highway Administration and Record of Decision issued
1991 — Rollins family files suit against U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration and Georgia Department of Transportation contending that the route selection process sidestepped federal law
1993 — Federal funding was halted until further environmental impact study is prepared
1997 — GDOT incorporates the US411 connector into the proposed Northern Arc proposal and beings requisite studies
2002 — The Northern Arc project was forcibly removed from consideration
2003 — GDOT renews the US411 connector project — removed from the prior Northern Arc project. FHWA files public notice that routes will be evaluated
2004 — GDOT begins studies and public outreach. Project is selected by President George W. Bush for “fast-track” status. Eight potential routes and a “no-build” option are presented for public comment. The list is quickly narrowed to four potential routes (A,B, an AB mix and D) and presented for public comment. In November of this year, Route D was modified to avoid and/or minimize environmental impacts
2005 — Congress includes a $21.8 million earmark for the project in its transportation funding
2007 — Route D undergoes a “value-engineering” study to shave the estimated price from $400 million to $175 million
2008 — Route D-VE is unveiled for public comment in February
2009 — FHWA issued a Record of Decision on Route D-VE but asks for modifications to the I-75 interchange at GA. 20
2010 — Modifications unveiled for public comment with the estimate revised costs to $128.4 million
During this time, the opposition has created numerous “creative” distractions to remove the focus away from the importance of this project that has been ongoing for 35 years. Also the opposition proposed Route G as their preferred route. This route would cause citizens to drive 4 miles north before being able to drive South on I-75 to Atlanta. Also, this is the route for which the GDOT estimated 3,700 vehicles per day would use the route; rather than the 14,800 vehicles per day estimated to us the Route V-DE (pulling 12,800 of these vehicles from Cartersville surface roads.)
The bottom line is that while thousands are in agreement about the importance of this project and quite honestly the financial stability and livelihood of t he citizens within Floyd County and Bartow County are at state with this transportation project — are we seriously going to stand idly by while on opponent (that doesn’t even reside in either county) destroys two communities?