Appalachian Corridor Study
The Appalachian Scenic Corridor study was conducted by the GDOT to evaluate the need and feasibility for a transportation facility across north Georgia. The north Georgia area lacks a continuous east-west transportation facility. Currently, all continuous major transportation facilities in north Georgia run from north to south. This orientation restricts commerce and the efficient flow of goods. This study addressed transportation needs, environmental concerns, and development issues along the corridor. Tourism, agriculture, and other cultural concerns were also considered.
For more information on this project, please send an e-mail to Cindy VanDyke or call her at 404-631-1747.
Study Final Results
In 1996, the Georgia Department of Transportation commissioned the Appalachian Scenic Corridor Study to determine the need for and feasibility of a continuous east-west transportation corridor across north Georgia.
The study of this GRIP (Governor's Road Improvement Program) corridor was conducted in three phases over a two-year period, in response to many years of local and regional concerns. The study addresses east-west mobility, safety issues, reduction of traffic congestion, transport of goods, economic opportunities, and tourism opportunities.
Many factors were considered over the course of the study. Traffic models were developed within the study area. Economic issues looked at the economic impacts of growth and development, and compared both with and without improvements. Environmental factors that were catalogued included land use, historic and cultural resources, archaeological sites, tourism, plant and animal habitat, and scenic opportunities. The engineering aspect of the study quantified impacts of the different alternates, developed cost estimates and phasing, and evaluated the benefits versus the costs of the project.
Public involvement was a major consideration throughout the study. A total of 15 public informational meetings were held, a monthly newsletter was distributed and reached a circulation of nearly 2,400 over the course of the study, and a toll-free hotline and website were available to the public. An Advisory Committee worked with the Department throughout the study and since its inception, assisted with consultant selection, acted as a "sounding board" for the public, and reviewed and offered comment on the study reports.
The study recommends that a continuous corridor be established. The corridor is approximately 169 miles in length, running from I-59 in Dade County, easterly to I-85 in Franklin County. The recommended corridor has manageable environmental impacts, offers opportunities for environmental and aesthetic enhancement, and is feasible from both an engineering and economic standpoint. The benefits-costs analysis shows that there would be a return of $13.97 in economic, operating, and accident cost savings for every dollar spent.
This corridor connects the cities of: Trenton, Dalton, Chatsworth, Ellijay, Dahlonega, Cleveland, Cornelia, Toccoa, and Lavonia. More than 60% of the corridor follows existing roads.
- Designate a single east-west corridor for continuity;
- Implement consistent, recognizable signage;
- Prioritize improvements; and
- Initiate upgrades of existing roads for safety improvements.
- A two-lane roadway with passing lanes from Trenton to US 27 mostly on new location (lower priority);
- A four-lane roadway from US 27 to Dalton on new location (higher priority);
- Two additional lanes on the existing North Dalton Bypass (higher priority);
- A four-lane bypass south of Chatsworth on new location from Dalton to US 411 (higher priority);
- An upgraded two-lane roadway with passing lanes following US 76 from US 411 to Ellijay (lower priority);
- A new location two-lane section connecting US 76 with SR 52 at Ellijay (lower priority);
- An upgraded two-lane roadway with passing lanes following SR 52 from Ellijay to Dahlonega (lower priority);
- An upgraded two-lane roadway with passing lanes following SR 52 and parts of SR 115 and SR 384 from Dahlonega to Cornelia, with new location sections east of Dahlonega to SR 384 (lower priority); and
- An existing and programmed four-lane SR 365 / US 441 / SR17 roadway near Toccoa to Lavonia.