Study finds flaws in Savannah-Knoxville highway idea

The study found several proposed routes contained “fatal flaws” including high-cost construction across mountains.  The cost could be from $590 million to $5.9 billion. The report called one remaining possible route the "least objectionable," although it had the potential for landslides.

A spokesman for the Federal Highway Administration, Doug Hecox, said it is up to the state to decide whether to pursue the project, but he added that cost and geology issues would make it "an ambitious undertaking."  A spokesman for the Georgia Department of Transportation, David Spear, said that while the agency had not yet reviewed the study, the state does not have money to build either that project, popularly dubbed "I-3," or an east-west sister proposal sometimes called "I-14."

Opponents of the Knoxville highway project include mountain residents and environmental activists.  Lucy Bartlett, former chair of an opponents' group, said "it sounds to me like we are finally done with it for this generation" and called on Congress to use leftover money from the study for other projects.

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