to build a controversial 215-mile highway connecting Augusta and
Columbus via historic Indian sites could move into the fast lane
due to a push from the White House, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported recently.
The Fall Line
Freeway, proposed by the Georgia Department of Transportation, would
run from the state's eastern border, cross the center of the state
south of Atlanta and end up on the western border, directly east
of Montgomery, AL. Part of it would run between the Indian mounds
of Ocmulgee National Monument in Macon.
In September, The Journal-Constitution reported, an order from the White
House required faster environmental and historical reviews and interagency
cooperation on selected highway projects. Later this month, a federal
committee will decide whether the Fall Line Freeway will be on that
month, the Intertribal Council of Five Civilized Tribes sent a resolution
to the Federal Highway Administration, urging the agency to protect
the historic tribal sites in the road's path. Among those are the
Ocmulgee Old Fields, which are on the National Register of Historic
Places. The property includes floodplains along the Ocmulgee River
and several earthen mounds built by the prehistoric Mississippian
culture atop the Macon plateau.
would cross parts of the native historical sites that lie on private
land. In addition, a cloverleaf exit would be constructed on historic
property. However, the state wants to create an elevated freeway
between the two sections of the national monument, which would leave
Indian mounds and ancient town sites in that area undisturbed.
of tribes are concerned about the traditional cultural property
and are closely watching the road development," Jill Stephens
of the National Parks Conservation Association said in a statement.
"It is the responsibility of both the Georgia Department of
Transportation and Federal Highway Administration to make sure Ocmulgee
National Monument and the Old Fields are protected."
in 2000 called the route selected by the state the most environmentally
and culturally damaging and the most expensive among paths considered
for the highway, The Journal-Constitution reported.