We’ve had a wonderful taste of fall weather this week, with morning temperatures in the high 50s – it’s 55 this morning – and afternoon temperatures not exceeding 70. It’s put a spring in the old dog’s step, and I feel pretty good about it myself. Looking out over the valley toward Dividing Ridge, I see the early turning trees just beginning to show a bit of yellow through the morning mist. This is my bell, as Hank Stamper used to say, and it’s ringing pretty clearly today.
As I mentioned, GDOT is holding a public meeting on the Hwy 5/McCaysville Bypass project on Wednesday, October 19, at the West Fannin Elementary gym, from 4:00 to 8:00. This is one of those deals where there no presentation, but they will “provide the public with an opportunity to view the project, ask questions, and provide comments.” That means they’re going to stand there and point at the maps and do their level best to provide non-responsive answers to any questions. (Due to a typo, I originally wrote October 9. It should be October 19.)
The legal notice hasn’t been published yet, but as reported in the News Observer, one of our three so-called newspapers, it’s going to be four 12 foot lanes with a 14 foot flush median two way turn lane until LaVista Drive/Galloway Road, where it will transition back into two lanes with the same turn lane.
The bypass portion is described as “Just north of Spring Hill Circle, a new truck bypass will be constructed to the west of McCaysville. The bypass will consist of two, 12-foot lanes and cross into Tennessee before ending on TN Hwy 68. Highway shoulders are expected to range from 10 to 12 feet and bridges would be constructed as needed.”
I’m not taking sides, but you’re definitely an idiot if you own a cabin on Fightingtown Creek and you don’t oppose this project. Ditto for the merchants in Copperhill/McCaysville. I believe that the folks at Stop the McCaysville Bypass have a much better plan, which you can read about in my previous columns and on their Facebook page, Stop the McCaysville Bypass.
They keep telling us that the Bypass isn’t a done deal, but it sure sounds like it is. If there’s a chance of stopping it, it’s simply that the decision maker is our own David Ralston, the Speaker of the House. He’s the one who obtained 100% state funding for the project, enabling it to bypass any environmental impact study (the NEPA process) as no federal money is involved. I believe that Speaker Ralston is a good politician who genuinely wants the best for this area – after all, he lives here. And I also believe that the only way this project is going to be stopped or modified is if Speaker Ralston himself comes to believe that there is a better way.
Again I’m just trying to provide a little objective analysis. But if the merchants of Copperhill and McCaysville don’t rise up and oppose this project, they deserve what’s coming to them, as someone said in a letter to the News Observer. And you could say the same thing about the people who own cabins in the Fightingtown Creek area.
There is apparently no provision for online comment. Written comments can be sent to Eric Duff, Georgia DOT Environmental Administrator, 600 W. Peachtree St, NW, 16th Floor, Atlanta, GA 30308. Until November 2.
And … the last day to register to vote in the November election is October 11. I hear it’s going to be a historic one, so you won’t want to miss it!