The recent letter, "I Favor Line D-VE for One Simple Reason," by John Wade Jr., a former Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) district engineer, misstated several key aspects of the 411 Connector project.
Wade says he favors GDOT's latest preferred route (Route D-VE) as the only alternative that "ties directly" to State Route (SR) 20 to the east of I-75, thus making it better suited to "carry the heavy traffic demand." First, Route D-VE does not "tie directly" to SR 20, as it requires travel through two new signalized intersections to reach the relocated state route. Secondly, GDOT's own origin/destination survey does not show this as a route through which heavy traffic will move, but indicates less than five percent of all traffic expected to use the connector will travel to or from SR 20 east of I-75. That is hardly "heavy traffic demand."
Route G is the road GDOT originally selected for the US 411 Connector, so surely it is acceptable. It would cost at least $84 million less and avoid substantial and irreparable environmental damage. Route G could be built faster, and have cars rolling on it sooner.
Further, GDOT's proposed intersection for Route D-VE at SR 20 requires traffic coming from Rome to I-75 to negotiate a traffic signal; travel from Rome to SR 20 requires the negotiation of two traffic signals. In addition, northbound travel on I-75 must slow to negotiate a tight, jughandle exit ramp onto the connector if Route D-VE is used (which could lead to traffic delays on I-75). Route G, by comparison, would keep the traffic moving and have no traffic signals.
Wade also stated the travel distance between US 41/US 411 and I-75/SR 20 is four miles less on Route D-VE than on Route G. The fact is, when comparing Route G to the map for Route D-VE (as conveyed in GDOT's environmental documentation for this project), it actually shows the state's preferred route as only 2.4 miles shorter, not four miles as Wade claimed. Because of the signal lights GDOT is putting on Route D-VE (that will surely slow traffic and reduce effective speed limits) and the tight jughandle exit ramp of I-75 (among other things), the difference in drive time between the costly and destructive Route D-VE and the route GDOT originally proposed - Route G - is only 24 seconds. And that's if the signalized interchange GDOT plans for Route D-VE doesn't slow down traffic on I-75, which it very well may. There is no such concern if GDOT's originally preferred route - Route G - is built.
Walter Kulash, P.E.
Little Switzerland, N.C.