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Fall Line Freeway on move in Crawford-Peach

By Christopher Schwarzen
The Macon Telegraph

FORT VALLEY - Thursday's public hearing shouldn't stop the Georgia Department of Transportation from building a five-mile stretch of the Fall Line Freeway between Crawford and Peach counties.

To submit a comment on the proposed project, write to David Studstill, State Environmental Engineer, Georgia Department of Transportation, 3993 Aviation Circle, Atlanta 30336-1593

Few of about 75 residents who attended the hearing had anything bad to say about the project.

To connect Augusta, Macon and Columbus in one direct route, the DOT will rebuild part of Ga. 96, widening the two-lane road to four lanes and a median between the Flint River and the Fort Valley Bypass.

A section of the road will follow a new alignment through protected wetlands, including parallel bridges over Nakomis Creek and the Central of Georgia Railway.

The route will connect with Ga. 49, a future segment of the Fall Line Freeway, leading to Interstate 75. Because of this, Fort Valley should increase its economic viability, said Peach County Commissioner James Khoury.

"Any time you build a new road like this, you're going to have an economic impact," Khoury said. "We'll have a connection with the Golden Isles connector, Interstate 75 and the Fall Line Freeway."

Each named route leads to different parts of the state, Khoury said, meaning travel from Fort Valley to anywhere in Georgia will be easier than before.

Liz Hart and her husband, Jasper, also were pleased to see the route moving close to Fort Valley. What they weren't pleased with was the side of Ga. 96 the new lanes will be built on.

"We were actually hoping it would be on our side of the road," she said. "We were hoping this would bring with it some improvements to the other roads that connect to Ga. 96."

Hart said the additional lanes will ease traffic congestion, saying use of the route has increased tremendously during the past 20 years.

Not everyone was pleased with the project's description.

Walter Joyner looked at the map on the wall to see his property in the middle of the future alignment. DOT officials told him the new alignment was necessary to protect wetlands.

"You serve two years in Vietnam, you come back and build a house and live there and some beaver overrules people," Joyner said, visibly upset.

Joyner said he and his wife will more than likely move, because the project is taking most of their front yard.

"If I wanted to live next to a highway, I'd have moved next to one," he said.

DOT officials indicated the project would displace seven residences and two businesses.

To contact Christopher Schwarzen, call 744-4213 or e-mail



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