About two dozen of the attendees were members of the Coalition for the Right Road, mobilized to protest the selected route of the U.S. 411 Connector — the $146 million, limited-access link between Rome and Interstate 75 in Bartow County.
Retired truck driver Norman Armstrong of Cartersville said a better option is to improve Ga. 20 between the interstate and U.S. 411. Diana Pruitt, also of Cartersville, said the road as planned is too expensive and will damage the natural beauty of Dobbins Mountain.
“We don’t have much country left,” she said.
Several said the inclusion of the project in the $1 billion package would lead them to vote against the T-SPLOST when it goes on ballots in the 15-county Northwest Georgia region next year.
But Sam Freeman of Rome said the relatively few opponents are not likely to sway the decision in a region of 860,000 people.
“That’s just those folks,” he said. “The package looks balanced to me, and I know the projects on there for Floyd County are badly needed. If enough folks in this region vote for it, it’ll pass.”
The package contains road, bridge and sidewalk projects in Floyd, Bartow, Chattooga, Polk, Gordon, Walker, Catoosa, Dade, Fannin, Gilmer, Haralson, Murray, Paulding, Pickens and Whitfield counties.
At least one of the attendees was from Marietta, however, checking out the project list for his company in Cobb County.
The man didn’t want to be identified, but Henry Floyd of Ladd’s Farm Supply in Cartersville was more forthcoming. Ladd’s does landscaping and erosion-control grassing for construction projects, including the Armuchee Connector.
“I’m looking for jobs,” Ford said with a grin. “I want to know whether to bale hay or lay down.”
Among the written comments submitted was an Adairsville resident’s call to widen Ga. 140 between Ga. 53 and I-75 immediately, and a Cartersville man saying upgrade Ga. 20 but do not relocate the 411 Connector. Moving the I-75 access north will not serve the needs of drivers heading to Atlanta, he wrote.
Clarence Brown, sole Bartow County commissioner, said he had been half-expecting anti-tax Tea Party members to join the 411 Connector protesters, but none materialized. Whitfield County Commission Chair Mike Babb said he’s sure they’ll be out in force for the Dalton open house on Thursday, 5-7 p.m. at the Whitfield County Courthouse.
“We had a Tea Party in Dalton before there was a Tea Party,” he said.
Brown and Babb serve on a five-member executive committee chosen by members of the Northwest Georgia Regional Commission to narrow down a package from needs-lists submitted by the counties.
The next step is for the full transportation roundtable to review the package and open-house comments before finalizing the package. NWGRC Planning Director David Howerin said major disputes are unlikely.
“The executive committee members were picked to represent three counties each, and they’ve been communicating with their counties throughout the process,” Howerin said.
A roundtable meeting is tentatively scheduled for Sept. 29 in Calhoun. The package is due by Oct. 15 to State Transportation Planner Todd Long at the Georgia Department of Transportation.
To see the detailed list of projects click here.
Northwest Georgia T-SPLOST Recommendations
Transit operations funding, program management costs.
Reconstruction of Ga. 101 to Polk County line; Ga. 140 widening from U.S. 27 to Ga. 53.
I-75 interchange reconstruction at Cass-White Road; Douthit Ferry Road improvements; Emerson Old Alabama Road widening; Relocation of Ga. 20 from I-75 to Ga. 61/U.S. 411; Richards Road railroad crossing improvements; Ga. 140 widening from Ga. 53 in Floyd County to U.S. 41; Stamp Creek Road at U.S. 411 intersection improvements; U.S. 411 Connector, $73 million; Widen U.S. 41 from Main Street to Ga. 61.
Taliaferro Springs Road bridge replacement; York Road bridge replacement; sidewalk construction and repairs (6 projects); Ga. 48 passing lanes.
North Wall Street improvements; South Calhoun Bypass; intersection improvements at Ga. 225, Ga. 136 and Pine Chapel Road; Ga. 3/U.S. 41 widening; Ga. 53 widening.
Marquette Road improvements; Reconstruction of Ga. 101 to Floyd County line.
Crow Gap Road bridge; Euclid Road bridge; Glass Mill Road bridge; Hog Jowl Road bridge; Five Points Road/Osburn School Road intersection improvement; Johnson Road improvements; Old Lee School Road bridge; Ga. 341 sidewalks; Vulcan Road bridge; Wilson Road Connector to Tennessee state line.
Candy Lane Extension; Dietz Road widening; Mack Smith Road widening and enhancements; Mineral Avenue widening; South Cedar Lane widening; Ga. 151 passing lanes, U.S. 41 milling at CSX underpass.
Dade County: $28.1 million
New interchange on Interstate 59 North, $25 million.
Airport Road improvements; Dawnville Road widening; East Morris Street improvements; Glenwood Avenue, Hawthorne Street and Tyler Street turn lanes; Hill Road improvements; I-75 ramp improvements; I-75 interchange reconstruction; I-75 roundabout; Ga. 2 improvements; Ga. 201 at Ga. 2 intersection improvements; Ga. 201 realignment at U.S. 41; Ga. 201 widening; Ga. 71 widening; Underwood Road improvements; Veterans Drive extension.
Macland Road widening; Fiber optic traffic monitoring system and traffic control center; Ga. 61 improvements; U.S. 278 widening; West Dallas bypass; Xpress regional commuter service.
Old Highway 76 reconnection, Passing lanes on Ga. 60 Spur; Ga. 5 widening.
John Teem Road Connector; Ga. 282 realignment; Ga. 52 Ellijay North Bypass.
Pedestrian and bike improvements on Business 27 South, Ga. 100 and Ga. 120; Ga. 120 West improvements; U.S. 27 railroad grade separation; U.S. 78 improvements; Wall Street/U.S. 78 intersection improvement.
Bridge replacement at Dennis Mill Road and Rock Creek; Chestnut Street and Old Federal Road realignment; U.S. 411/U.S. 76 and Jackson Lake Road intersection improvement; Phase II bike lanes; Ga. 225/Spring Place Bypass; Ga. 225 roundabout; Ga. 225 improvements at Fox Bridge Road; Ga. 225 Phase II; Ga. 286 improvements at Cobb Road and Tom Gregory Road.
Camp Road extension; Ga. 515 improvements; Ga. 53 Business improvements.
Source: Northwest Georgia Regional Commission