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DOT meeting discusses road plans
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DOT Open house

What: Georgia Department of Transportation open house session on four-year plan outlining projects for rural areas in Northeast Georgia
When: 5-7 p.m. Tuesday
Where: Jackson County Courthouse, 5000 General Jackson Parkway, Jefferson

On Tuesday, the Georgia Department of Transportation will hold the last of two open house sessions to discuss a four-year plan outlining projects for rural areas in Northeast Georgia.

The upcoming open house will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Jackson County Courthouse, 5000 General Jackson Parkway in Jefferson.

The projects fall under the State Transportation Improvement Program and cover the next four fiscal years. The program is a “four-year plan for rural counties detailing federally funded projects that includes interstate and state route improvements, bridge projects, maintenance projects, bicycle and pedestrian projects, transportation enhancement activities and public transit projects,” according to the DOT.

DOT officials say the majority of the projects aren’t new, but there will be a few new projects presented.

“Overall, the projects are not new. We work in three phases. The first phase is preliminary engineering when we decide what will be built based on federal environmental law, engineering standards and community input,” said Teri Pope, a DOT spokesperson.

“The second phase is right-of-way acquisition when we buy the additional land needed and the third phase is construction. Many of the projects only have one phase of work funded, only right-of-way and not construction. So there are a few new projects with preliminary engineering starting, but most are in right-of-way acquisition or construction, so they are not new.”

The first open house was held in Helen.

“The pervasive issue (at the Helen open house) was that there were many more needs than our current funding levels allow us to complete quickly. People were frustrated and so are we that many projects are not funded in this four-year plan,” said Pope.

Pope said residents should drop in during the open house to “see what is planned for the next four years in their area.”