The recent letter by James Morgan, "411 Connector Route D-VE or Route G; The Best Road," omitted several facts about the Georgia Department of Transportation's plagued 411 connector project and its preferred Route D-VE. In his letter, he contends the only advantage to alternate Route G is that it is 2.5 miles shorter in distance to I-75. Unfortunately, Morgan's assertions could not be further from the truth.
Route G, the route that originally served as GDOT's preferred choice, is not only shorter, but it costs at least $84 million less, is quicker to construct, limits environmental degradation to local watersheds and Dobbins Mountain, and does not destroy a significant wildlife refuge and historic Dobbins Mine. Also, the route requires half the number of bridges and overpasses, thus making it cheaper and quicker to build. Further, it does not require the removal of more than 5.1 million cubic yards of earth and rock -- which is more than the total amount of concrete used to build Hoover Dam, one of the largest public works projects in US history. One would think with GDOT's dismal financial status that it would avoid the construction of a Hoover Dam-sized project.
Morgan also claimed that Route D-VE's interchange at US 411, I-75 and SR 20 would "expedite travel" and "alleviate traffic." Contrary to his opinion, transportation experts and professional engineers have stated in recent articles that GDOT's proposed, atypical interchange with Route D-VE is unnecessarily complicated and poses several dangers for motorists.
First, the proposed interchange will slow down traffic due to two new traffic signals and may increase peak-hour travel times on I-75. Northbound I-75 traffic wishing to exit at US 411 will have to weave through a wall of trucks in the right lane and slow down to negotiate a tight-radius jughandle exit ramp. This could reduce safety and increase accidents while further delaying traffic on I-75. If the interchange was located at Route G, it would not require any traffic signals and could be constructed to keep traffic moving at 50 miles per hour, as motorists exit I-75 onto US 411.
Also in his letter, Morgan asserted that "thousands of voters want this road built" and only one family is to blame. Come on! There are easily thousands opposed to the current route and, in fact, families in the Lexington Farms, Churchill Downs, Polo Fields, Liberty Square, Cline Smith Road, Grassdale Road, etc. subdivisions have voiced opposition to GDOT's wasteful and environmentally destructive route for years. This is hardly "a few elitists."
Besides, it was a federal judge that stopped the road in the past because he found that GDOT was proceeding illegally. GDOT is doing it again, and they can only blame themselves for their current problems; there would be no problem if GDOT picked a route that complied with the law.
And finally, Morgan claimed GDOT "knows how to look at the big picture." If GDOT was so interested in the big picture, it would have the foresight like the feds did when they choose to go around Dobbins Mountain during the construction of I-75. Their colleagues knew it was a costly, environmentally damaging idea then and remains so today.