Critical Issues Affecting the Ocmulgee Old Fields

Perspectives of John Kraus - Registered Forester and Avid Outdoorsman and Rivarian

Georgia 96 is best route for freeway

Sent January 28, 1998. Published on Sunday Feb 1 issue of

 The Macon Telegraph  P.O. Box 4167   Macon, Ga. 31213

"Letters"

Dear Sirs:

The recent three-day exposition on the controversy surrounding the route of the Fall Line Freeway did a good job of uncovering some significant historical and geographical facts. The front page map on January 19th clearly shows the northern jog that the route must take to go through Macon rather than stay on Ga. Hwy 96 as originally proposed years ago by the Department of Transportation.   A look at a Georgia state road map shows it even more clearly.  The "southern route" will clearly benefit some rural areas left as backwaters by the demise of railroads and the development of the Interstate highway system.

It was excellent that Mike Billips on page 7a, January 19 mentioned the oft forgotten "private meeting" in February 1986 that decided the Freeway should come through Macon.   What he couldn't say was that this was probably the meeting at which Macon politicians traded the possibility of having the new  fairgrounds, now located in Perry, in Macon. In return they got the Fall Line Freeway which doesn't belong here at all.  I have nothing against the trucking industry but I cringe at the thought of having multiple 18-wheelers stopping for the traffic lights on Eisenhower Parkway. I sincerely hope that the Federal hearings now in progress will find the Ga. Hwy 96 route the "most prudent and feasible".

Sincerely,

John F. Kraus

Macon, Ga.  31210   477-2321

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Mailed on October 21, 1997    to   "Letters"

Dear Sirs:

Several weeks ago [Editor-I don't remember the date, feel free to

insert it if you like] I attended a meeting concerning the location of

the Fall-line Freeway at the county courthouse hosted by Congressman

Saxby Chambliss. It was well attended but not an open hearing and all

the speakers supported the Georgia Dept. of Transportation's choice of

highly controversial route 1A. Route 1A is the one that would leave I-75

to funnel 18-wheelers onto traffic controlled Eisenhower Parkway and then

create an extension of the Eisenhower Parkway that would cross the

Ocmulgee Old Fields floodplain. It would move tourism traffic away from

downtown and the new museums and tourist attractions being developed near

the renovated Douglas Theater, the Bibb Mill site and the Terminal

Station. It would, in the future, encourage industrial development in

the floodplain creating pressure to raise the levee which caused downtown

Macon to flood in 1994.

In response to questions at the meeting I was told that the Dept.

of Transportation could not consider the possible future of the levee in

making their choice of a route for the Fall-line Freeway because the

levee is a local concern and its fate would be determined by our county

and city officials. The Federal Highway Administration, which would

provide a large part of funding for the Freeway, will be holding hearings

to receive public opinion. Saxby Chambliss has already stated that if

Route 1A is not chosen because of objections from the Muskogee-Creek

Tribe that he will file for some sort of exception to the Cultural

Heritage regulations concerning the Ocmulgee Old Fields.

I have for years supported the concept of the Fall-line Freeway

going through Macon, but not on Route 1A.    In considering all that I

heard at Mr. Chambliss meeting I no longer care whether the Freeway goes

through Macon or not. If Route 1A is the only way to go through Macon I

will begin lobbying for the Freeway to follow the Highway 96 alternative.

John F. Kraus

1211 Timberlane Drive   Macon, 31210   477-2321


Rationality vs Overkill

 Mailed on November 1, 1997

"Letters"

Dear Sirs:

The proposed Northside Parkway is a classic example of overkill. I have

lived in north Macon for over 30 years and have never had a problem

getting to the Mall, Westgate or other stores in that area. There are

some improvements that should be made. From Northside Drive (formerly

the VC&L Road) to Wimbish there is no problem. The traffic light at

Wimbish was a great improvement. The intersection of Ridge and Forest

Hill is a problem, traffic trying to turn left into Ridge Ave. backs up

through traffic while the light is green and many drivers are making an

illegal and dangerous pass on the right, some without slowing down. The

Vineville/Forest Hill intersection was recently greatly improved. Park

St. needs a little widening and a sidewalk on at least one side would be

useful. On Napier between Park and Log Cabin traffic flows smoothly and

the addition of a right turn lane onto Log Cabin was an improvement. I

have never had a problem with traffic on Log Cabin but it also could be

improved by the addition of a sidewalk on at least one side for

pedestrian safety.

Actually with Home Depot, Mansours, K-Mart, Barnes & Noble, Regal Cinema,

three supermarkets and beaucoup restaurants readily available in the Tom

Hill/Northside area I seldom have as much occasion to go to the Mall or

Eisenhouer Parkway as I used to; and the proposed Northside Parkway is

certainly not what I understood the "Penny Tax" would be used for. Our

county and city officials need to rethink this project and only make

relatively minor improvements to the present route.

John F. Kraus

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