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The Georgia Department of Transportation plans to build a bypass in Bartow County to provide a direct link between I-75 and the Rome area.
We're opposed to the DOT's chosen route. The road would barrel right through a mountain, causing unnecessary environmental damage and wasting millions of taxpayer dollars. Other viable options the DOT has considered are considerably cheaper and safer from an environmental standpoint.
For example, the DOT's chosen route crosses several creeks in the Etowah River basin and would further jeopardize the endangered Cherokee Darter.
The DOT's plans call for an 800-foot wide, 125-foot deep gash to be blasted through Dobbins Mountain. That's tall enough to hold a 12-story building and wide enough to comfortably fit four 747 jet planes sitting wingtip to wingtip.
Then there's the cost. Compared to more sensible alternatives, the DOT's favored route is 2.5 miles longer and requires the construction of seven more bridges and overpasses. In all, the cost difference runs about $100 million, a stunning figure given the DOT's well-documented budget woes.
The Georgia Conservancy is not opposed to a highway bypass, just this chosen route. We understand the need to invest in transportation infrastructure to ease traffic congestion in Bartow and better serve the Rome area.
Watch Georgia Conservancy President Pierre Howard advocate for Dobbins Mountain:
For more information on the 411 Connector project visit this website:www.coalitionfortherightroad.org
Click here to read Pierre Howard's June 2013 letter to the Rome News-Tribune.