Environmental concerns delay U.S. 411 construction in Ga.

OT delays connector project after federal and state agencies voice concerns

News Atlanta Business Chronicle July 21, 2010
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The Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) will delay construction on a stretch of highway linking Rome, Ga., to I-75 due to environmental and historic preservation issues.

Three federal and state agencies have raised concerns over the U.S. 411 connector project, GDOT spokesman David Spears told the Atlanta Business Chronicle Tuesday.

In addition, a wealthy Atlanta family that owns a 1,800-acre ranch located in the path of the highway has hired a pubic relations firm, lawyers and transportation consultants to oppose the project.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service requested that GDOT conduct a further environmental impact study of the streams along the route.

The Federal Highway Administration is reviewing a recent vote in Euharlee, Ga., on acquiring a 100-acre conservative easement for a new wildlife refuge that would bisect the proposed route.

Finally, the Department of Natural Resources requested that GDOT assess the potential historic and archeological value of the Dobbins Mine, the oldest mine in Georgia, located on the planned route.

“If they do their job, follow the law and proceed in good faith, they will decide that building a road there is an economic and environmental disaster,” Lee Davis, a lawyer representing the family, told the Atlanta Business Chronicle.

Spears, however, said that he is confident these issues will only delay the project by four to six months.

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