Sen. Butterworth and Toccoa-Stephens County Leadership Meets With New GDOT Commissioner

The widening of GA-17 from the Hayestone Brady Business Park to I-85 is a high priority for both the Georgia Department of Transportation and Toccoa-Stephens County officials. In a meeting with the new GDOT Commissioner Vance Smith, new Planning Director Todd Long, and Board Chairman Bill Kuhlke, a delegation from Toccoa-Stephens County, joined by Senator Jim Butterworth and Representative Michael Harden, learned that the acquisition of the rights-of-way for the widening of GA-17 from Scott Road south to the county line is progressing well past the 50% mark. The acquisition is expected to be completed by the summer of 2010.  The funding and construction schedule for the project will be identified after the rights-of-way are in hand but are expected to follow closely behind.

Those attending the Monday, August 24 meeting in Atlanta were GDOT District Engineer Russell McMurray, County Administrator John Rutan, Toccoa City Manager Billy Morse, Toccoa Mayor Ron Seib, Martin Mayor Don Foster, Stephens County Development Authority Chairman Cam Parker, and Stephens County Development Authority Executive Director Tim Martin.

Cam Parker, Stephens County Development Authority: “It was a very productive meeting, and my resulting feeling is that it’s as important to the Department of Transportation as it is to us to make the state’s investment a payoff, and the way to accomplish that is to get the road built. GDOT will invest a lot in rights-of-way acquisition, and it doesn’t make too much sense to have that sit on the shelf for too long.”

Don Foster, Mayor of Martin:  “The meeting went very well with the new Commissioner and the other representatives. I think Stephens County was well received, and we know that they are continually working on the Highway 17 four lane acquisitions.”

Billy Morse, Toccoa City Commission: “I felt the meeting was very productive, and it was nice to meet the new Commissioner Vance Smith. It appears that he’ll work very closely with our community to accomplish our transportation goals, the most important of which is to widen Highway 17 to the Franklin County line.”

Senator Jim Butterworth: “It speaks well of Stephens County Leadership, past and present, that this project continues to move forward during this time of limited transportation funding. Today we received assurance that this project is, and will remain, on the short list of projects that GDOT is committed to completing. Because of the positive economic impact this project will bring to Stephens County and Northeast Georgia, I am committed to seeing this project to completion.”

Stephens County Development Authority

Tim Martin, Executive Director

12 W. Tugalo St., Suite 302

Toccoa, GA 30577