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Friday, May 21, 2010 - 2:46pm

Controversial Highway Project Could Soon Move Forward

A controversial highway in north Georgia that’s been in planning for over two decades could be moving forward soon.   

Opponents say it will unnecessarily destroy a mountain that’s home to endangered species. 

The DOT has been working on a route that  would give people in northwest Georgia direct access to Interstate 75 for years. 

The route was successfully challenged in court in 1993 because of its environmental impact, but now the DOT says it’s complied with the law and is waiting for the federal government to put a final stamp on the plan.

Will Windgate with the Georgia Conservancy says the highway’s construction will hurt the habitat of several endangered darter fish in the Etowah River basin.

"It’s a very expensive route that has tremendous environmental degradations that would happen if Dobbins Mountain is blasted through, and there are other alternatives out there," says Windgate.

Those alternative routes were considered by engineers says transportation board member David Doss.

"They methodically eliminated each one based on cost, based on engineering, based on travel time, based on environmental concerns, and the engineers arrived at the alignment that has been selected," says Doss.

Doss says the DOT could get approval as soon as next month and soon after the state will start buying land under right of way laws.