State transportation engineers are preparing to unveil a plan to widen a portion of U.S. Highway 78 in northeast Georgia, and area officials are hoping the project will encourage development.
Officials say the plan calls for widening the highway to four lanes from southeastern Clarke County to just outside Crawford in Oglethorpe County.
The state Department of Transportation scheduled two public meetings this week to describe the widening plans, one in Athens and one in Lexington.
Cary Fordyce of the Oglethorpe County Chamber of Commerce says developers have looked at Oglethorpe County as a place to build, and at least one suggested he needed a wider highway.
Opponents say the widening would detract from the natural beauty surrounding the highway and disrupt historic landmarks along the right-of-way.