Widening US 84 from Homerville to Waycross

300x232 Figure 4.1: State and Federal Waters Map, in US 84 four-laning from Homerville to Waycross, by John S. Quarterman, for WWALS.net, 28 April 2015 GDOT and the Army Corps want to widen U.S. 84 from Homerville to Waycross. Since it appears that US 84 is already four lane from Thomasville through Quitman and Valdosta to Homerville, and from Waycross onwards northeast, this would be the remaining gap. The public notice says little or nothing about why this road work might be needed.

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Public Notice, 28 April 2015, SAS-2014-00862 (SP-WMR), Widening and Reconstruction of U.S. Highway 84, with PDF. Since that notice says it expires in a month, there’s also a copy of the PDF on the WWALS website, including this location information:

The area is dominated by stream/bottomland hardwood forest, planted pine forests, open/agricultural fields, and light residential/commercial industrial habitats. It is located in the Suwannee and Satilla River Watersheds (03070201 and 03110201 HUC) and crosses various streams, including; Cane Creek, Peters Branch, Box Creek, Suwannee Creek, Little Suwannee Creek, Suwannee River, Greasy Branch, Alligator Creek, Little Alligator Creek, Kettle Creek, Woodyard Creek.

WWALS’ Alapaha River watershed is HUC 03110202, and begins west of Homerville betweeen Dupont and Stockton. HUC 03110201 is the Upper Suwannee River watershed, and Save Our Suwannee (SOS) President is on the case, as is Satilla Riverkeeper for HUC 03070201, the Satilla River watershed. WWALS stands ready to assist if needed.

Some of this project was on the regional transportation sales tax TSPLOST list back in 2011 as several projects:

Clinch County

RC11-000037, SR 38/US84 from Woodyard Creek to West of Greasy Creek, $64,607,358.00 cost estimate with $5,306,040 TIA funding.

Ware County

RC11-000131, Manor-Millwood Widening (US 84 to US 82), $4,010,000.00 cost estimate with $4,515,911.30 TIA Funding.

RC11-000137, SR 38/US84 from Greasy Branch CK to east of CR 294/Wadley Road, $50,000,000.00 cost estimate with $5,306,040 TIA funding.

And probably one or more of the Ware County bypass items on that list.

Looks like we didn’t have to pass TSPLOST after all for those projects to get doe. Here’s the funding source:

300x388 Figure 1.1: Map, Main Street, in US 84 four-laning from Homerville to Waycross, by John S. Quarterman, for WWALS.net, 28 April 2015 This project is federally funded and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) is the lead federal agency responsible for coordination and consultation under Section 7(a)(2) of the Endangered Species Act and Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, as amended.

You can provide public input.

Public Interest Review: The decision whether to issue a permit will be based on an evaluation of the probable impact including cumulative impacts of the proposed activity on the public interest. That decision will reflect the national concern for both protection and utilization of important resources. The benefit, which reasonably may be expected to accrue from the proposal, must be balanced against its reasonably foreseeable detriments. All factors, which may be relevant to the proposal will be considered including the cumulative effects thereof; among those are conservation, economics, aesthetics, general environmental concerns, wetlands, historic properties, fish and wildlife values, flood hazards, flood plain values, land use, navigation, shoreline erosion and accretion, recreation, water supply and conservation, water quality, energy needs, safety, food and fiber production, mineral needs, considerations of property ownership and in general, the needs and welfare of the people.

300x388 Figure 1.2: Map, Ruskin Road, in US 84 four-laning from Homerville to Waycross, by John S. Quarterman, for WWALS.net, 28 April 2015 A copy of the Environmental Assessment approved by the FHWA for the subject project is available for review at the Federal Highway Administration, Atlanta Federal Center, 61 Forsyth Street, SW., Suite 17th Floor, Atlanta, Georgia 30303-8821 and GDOT’s Office of Environmental Services, One Georgia Center, 16th Floor, 600 West Peachtree Street, NW, Atlanta, Georgia 30808-3607.

Consideration of Public Comments: The Corps is soliciting comments from the public; federal, state, and local agencies and officials; Native American Tribes; and other interested parties in order to consider and evaluate the impacts of this proposed activity. Any comments received will be considered by the Corps to determine whether to issue, modify, condition or deny a permit for this proposal. To make this decision, comments are used to assess impacts on endangered species, historic properties, water quality, general environmental effects, and the other public interest factors listed above Comments are used in the preparation of an Environmental Assessment and/or an Environmental Impact Statement pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act. Comments are also used to determine the need for a public hearing and to determine the overall public interest of the proposed activity.

Application of Section 4041b 1) Guidelines: The proposed activity involves the discharge of dredged or fill material into the waters of the United States. The Savannah District’s evaluation of the impact of the activity on the public interest will include application of the guidelines promulgated by the Administrator, Environmental Protection Agency, under the authority of Section 404(b) of the Clean Water Act.

Public Hearing: Any person may request, in writing, within the comment period specified in this notice, that a public hearing be held to consider this application for a Department of the Army permit. Requests for public hearings shall state, with particularity, the reasons for requesting a public hearing. The decision whether to hold a public hearing is at the discretion of the District Engineer, or his designated appointee, based on the need for additional substantial information necessary in evaluating the proposed project.

Comment Period: Anyone wishing to comment on this application for a Department of the Army permit should submit comments in writing to the Commander, US. Army Corps of Engineers, Savannah District, Attention: Mr. William M. Rutlin, 100 West Oglethorpe Avenue Savannah, Georgia 31401-3640, no later than 30 days from the date of this notice. Please refer to the applicant’s name and the application number in your comments.

If you have any further questions concerning this matter, please contact Mr. William M. Rutlin, Project Manager, Coastal Branch, at 912-652-5893.