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Thursday, October 4, 2012 - 2:18am

Mine Prompts 411 Connector Route Shift

The state Department of Transportation is proposing a modified route for the proposed U.S. Highway 411 connector in north Georgia to avoid historic features on Dobbins Mountain.

The Keeper of the National Register of Historic Places decided this summer that a 19th-century manganese mine on the mountain is eligible for listing on the register. That means federal money can’t be spent on the state’s proposed 411 connector route because it would impact the historic area.

GDOT is planning to ask federal authorities to shift the road south to an area where there are already electricity transmission lines, said spokeswoman Jill Goldberg.

“Basically [the plan would move the road] to the bottom of the area that has been potentially recognized as having historic significance, and move it to where [the historic area has] already been impacted by some transmission power lines and already has activity on it. So it’s already been degraded at that location,” Goldberg said.

The starting and ending points for the connector would remain the same. Only the portion of the road around the Dobbins Mine area would move.

Landowners around the proposed route have been fighting for years to get GDOT to select a different route altogether. They say the new changes still destroy too much of the historic area and that the power lines have been there for 50 years, so they are as much a part of the historic area as other features.

“The mining landscape has been determined to have integrity as a site consisting of historic elements, and you can’t pick and choose which ones are better or worse. You have to take the entire landscape as a whole,” said Henry Parkman, attorney for Cartersville Ranch and the Rollins family, landowners along the current route.

The U.S. 411 connector would provide more direct access to I-75 for the Rome and Cartersville areas.