It’s been a few months since Madison County residents submitted comments at a department of transportation open house regarding a proposed Hwy. 29 bypass of Danielsville. But don’t expect answers anytime soon.
This is a long, laborious process, state DOT spokesperson Teri Pope explained.
“Typically, it takes us several months to respond to those comments and even as long as a year to determine which ones can be enveloped into the design,” Pope said.
The DOT proposes a widening of Hwy. 29 with four bypass options. The possibilities include one route that goes west of Danielsville, another that goes east, and two that start out east of town and cut back across Hwy. 29 and swing west.
The DOT displayed these routes on three expansive 5 x 26 satellite image maps at the MCHS cafeteria July 30 and sent 10 officials to field questions and accept written comments.
The goal, Pope said, is to define which of the four routes is best based on lots of criteria. That includes community input, federal environmental law and engineering standards.
That’s not an easy practice, she said, given that there’s 53 different environmental laws a route must meet. The fact that four bypass options are on the table only adds to that involved process.
“So it is quite a process to get them to one route,” Pope said. “So we’re still in development stages.”
There’s also no money for the project yet and won’t be for some time, meaning there’s no timeline for the project.
“We are still years away from any kind of decision as we are years away from any kind of funding,” Pope said.
When or if that happens, county residents appear to favor a bypass that goes east of downtown Danielsville if a recent online poll conducted by the Madison County Journal is any indication.
As of Tuesday, readers had voted overwhelmingly — nearly nine to one (189 votes to 26) — for an east option.
As for the opinions expressed to the DOT, Pope didn’t have access to those open house comments at her Gainesville office — the comments were sent to Atlanta — but said response is usually spirited for these kinds of projects.
“I can pretty much tell you there are going to be some who hate it and some who love it for every alignment,” Pope said.
But the DOT will use all relevant input as a guide.
“It’s whittling them down and finding the information that is pertinent and relevant to the project, other than ‘no, because this is my property,’” Pope said.
Now that the real estate roulette wheel of stupidity bubble has burst, and with the trend for future generations going completely away from subdivisions in the farm country of Madison County, we don't need it. We don't want it.