I am writing about two full page articles that recently appeared in this paper opposing the GDOT "preferred" route D-VE for the US 411 connector. Those articles were paid for by an organization named "Coalition for the Right Road" (and by Cartersville Ranch LLC). I later received an e-mail asking me to visit their web site, which I did. It is very well done and provides a great deal of background information. The expressed purpose of this organization is to oppose route D-VE and support an alternate route G which they certainly have the right to do.
I have been a resident of Cartersville for over 37 years and spent 40 years as a Professional Civil Engineer involved in transportation programs and projects. For 30 years, I was employed by GDOT and for 10 of those I was District Engineer here in Cartersville. During that time, we constructed I75 from Acworth to US 411 and many other major projects in northwest Georgia. Since my full retirement from engineering over 10 years ago, I've had no contact with GDOT about any project. Whether that qualifies me from making any further comments depends on your point of view.
After reading the July 8 article, written by Walter Kulash, PE, I was left with the impression he believes route D-VE is the result of some unholy alliance between politics and private interests. Let me assure you, the selection of D-VE as the DOT staff's "preferred" route was an engineering decision. The DOT Board will make the final decision to approve or disapprove the route.
The July 11 article shows a cross-section of a 125' deep 829' wide cut through Dobbins Mtn. and says it is "based on GDOT's road plan." They also say the DOT "is unwilling to admit it is planning to obliterate Dobbins Mtn." and "blast out" its scenic vista." If that were true, it would be reason enough to oppose route D-VE, but, as far as I can tell, it is not true. The only GDOT "plans" I can find are those conceptual drawings already presented to the public. I've studied those drawings and the site of the crossing several times and my conclusion is that a cut will certainly be necessary at the crest of the mountain but will not be even close to 125' deep. The crossing will be in a "saddle" already occupied by power transmission lines, old strip mines and current mining permits. The mountain crest is sloping south at this point and disappears completely at SR 20 (about 3/4 mi. south). The high point of the crest is about 1/2 mi. north of the crossing and is occupied by a communication tower. When viewed from the west, the site can be identified by the very visible power transmission line. The claim that the "DOT is planning to obliterate Dobbins Mtn." with a 125' deep cut and "blast out" its "scenic vista" is a gross exaggeration at best.
I favor line D-VE for one simple reason, it is the only alternate that ties directly to SR20 east of I75 which is now improved to carry the heavy traffic demand (traffic that would have used the now abandoned "northern arc"). All other alternates require traffic between the connector and SR20 east to enter I75, travel some distance and then exit. The interchange at SR20 is already congested and developed and will eventually have to be replaced to handle traffic to and from SR20 east. The interchange will be more complex and costly than the one proposed for route D-VE. Also, of all of the alternates, route D-VE requires the least travel distance between US41/US411 and the two major destinations, I75 south of SR20 and SR20 east of I75.
Lastly, if route D-VE is rejected by the DOT Board, I certainly would not support route G. Route G was originally conceived as part of the "northern arc" but now ends at I75 with no eastward connection and, as a result, requires the most travel distance between US41/US411 and I75/SR20 of all alternates and 4 mi. more than D-VE. Although that seems like a small amount, it would cost the users a total of over $7 million each year. Add to that the eventual cost of the eventual cost of the interchange at I75/SR20. The only advantage of route G over any other alternate appears to be that it does not impact Cartersville Ranch.
John W. Wade Jr.