State transportation leaders addressed a controversial road project at a public hearing Thursday evening in north Georgia.
The Department of Transportation hosted the forum in Cartersville to review federally funded projects.
Among them are plans for the 411 Connector.
The proposed road would connect Highway 411 to Interstate 75.
It would give travelers straighter access to and from the expressway without having to go through Cartersville, which can become a traffic bottleneck.
There is strict opposition from locals, however.
They argue the road will disrupt wildlife and the environment, cost too much, and unnecessarily take out parts of Dobbins Mountain.
Several months ago, local authorities created a conservation easement on the land which could force the DOT to find an alternate route for the road.
The DOT is awaiting word from the federal government to determine whether it has to comply with the easement.
Meanwhile, it’s gathering more data on the road’s potential impact to the environment.
A spokesman says the DOT hopes to have a decision on federal approval and funding within the next few months.
If that happens, the next step would be to purchase land and call for bids from construction companies.
Contributors: Melissa Stiers