I am concerned about the potential negative impact the U.S. 411 Connector will have on dozens of businesses along the busy travel corridors of State Route 20 and U.S. 41 in Bartow County. As most know, this "road for Rome" will serve as a bypass around the two bustling highways and the city of Cartersville, and is projected to carry more than 14,800 cars per day (source: GDOT November 2004 Concept Report). The end result will be 5.4 million fewer motorists per year that could purchase goods and services from our local businesses.
The decreased traffic volume could force businesses to shut its doors, thus leading to building vacancies along S.R. 20 and U.S. 41. It could also force appraisal values down and wipe out millions in annual sales tax revenue from motorists that travel through Bartow County and the city of Cartersville.
Residents and business owners need to know if the county and/or city have analyzed this potential economic hit. What economic studies, if any, are available to business owners about the road's impact? What programs are in place to help business owners who might be negatively impacted by the Cartersville bypass?
Surely, our elected officials realize these businesses cannot all relocate to the connector. According to GDOT's plan, the connector is designated to be a limited access highway -- meaning it will have very few business driveways. Obviously, the goal here is to assure motorists from Rome and beyond a speedy, effortless trip through the county.
In closing, this serves as one more reason (in a growing list of reasons -- e.g. cost, length, efficiency, legal issues, damage to environmental and historic resources, etc.) why this road is detrimental to Bartow County.