The proposed 6.34-mile, limited access highway would provide drivers from Floyd County with a link to Interstate 75 in Bartow County without having to traverse the surface streets of Cartersville.
The Georgia Department of Transportation is proposing a modification of Route D-VE through the Rollins family’s Dobbins Mine property, in hopes it will avoid impacting tracts the Keeper of the National Register of Historic Places has said are eligible for listing.
“The department believes that, since the entire historic landscape is much larger than the Dobbins Mine area, showing the road in the degraded portion at the very bottom of the landscape can receive a de minimus ruling,” project manager Albert Shelby said.
A “de minimus” ruling would mean the route has no adverse effect on the historic significance of the site — restoring its eligibility for federal construction money.
But Henry Parkman, attorney for the Rollins family, has filed a letter of objection with both the Keeper and the State Transportation Board.
Parkman said the modified route would bisect the elements of the manganese mining operation, destroying the integrity of the historic district. Visible in the wooded and hilly terrain are elements that show where the ore was extracted, washed and shipped out to manufacturers, he said.
“This is going to destroy about 20 acres of the mining landscape and isolate about 24 acres on the other side of the road,” Parkman said. “With some slight adjustment, they’re still planning to plow right through an historic district.”
State Transportation Board member Jeff Lewis of Cartersville checked on the progress of the project last week. He’s leaving the design in the hands of the experts, but Parkman said the STB should intervene.
“We are really trying to head off a bad decision before more time and money is spent,” Parkman said. “Ultimately, this route is not going to prevail.”
While there are no immediate plans to seek listing on the National Register, Parkman noted that eligibility alone protects the landscape. Without a de minimus ruling, the GDOT would have to investigate other “prudent and feasible” routes to I-75.
Route D-VE was selected after years of study that included at least eight potential paths, including a “no-build” option. Shelby said the original concepts were examined from a traffic analysis and environmental impact standpoint before the best alternative was chosen.
The goal of the road is twofold: to provide a direct connection between U.S. 411, at its interchange with U.S. 41 west of Cartersville, and I-75; and to relieve congestion along the existing U.S. 411/SR 20 to I-75 corridor.