The federal government is moving ahead on studies for two new interstates through Georgia.

Interstate 3 would connect Savannah to Knoxville, Tennessee. Supporters say allowing east Georgia drivers a more direct route between the two cities would relieve traffic congestion in Atlanta and help the economy of nearby rural communities.

But opponents worry it would hurt the environment in north Georgia since. They say the roadway would cut through mountains and affect water in northeast Georgia.

"We're talking about a new four lane divided road that would be cutting through pristine land," says Holly Demuth, the director of Wayssouth, a group opposing the interstate.

The Federal Highway Administration is planning feasbility studies for Interstate 3 and for the proposed Interstate 14, which would stretch from Columbus to Augusta. Both interstates would likely connect in Augusta.

Officials expect to seek bids for the studies on both roads by the end of 2009 or early 2010.

Tags: Georgia, transportation, Augusta, Columbus, Savannah, Milledgeville, Macon, Interstate 3, Interstate 14, Wayssouth, Federal Highway Administration, feasibility, feasibility study, roadway, roadways, interstate, interstates