The Macon Levee Scams
Published March 17, 2002 in the Macon Telegraph p 13A
"Levee Scam" forces back on the scene
Ten years ago the Ocmulgee River flooded some portions of Macon's water treatment plant. Visitors to our 1992 Cherry Blossom Festival were told that Macon's water was not safe to drink.
I learned from that 1992 flood. I learned that clean water is precious. And I learned that Macon is susceptible to expensive flooding due to poorly designed developments, roads, bridges and levees based on inadequate modeling of the Ocmulgee River during floodstages. I began to actively educate people about any projects that would make Macon even more prone to flooding. Such projects at the time included 1-raising the Macon Levee and 2- extending Eisenhower Parkway into the swampland which drains Macon.
People pushing for those two projects have told me this: "Raise the levee and it will never break in our lifetime. Use the land behind the levee for prime development next to downtown. Use Eisenhower Extension to gain access to this land. Build a new intersection with i16 in the floodplane right beside the river. Let our children figure out how to deal with flooding should it ever occur". I call these ideas the "Levee Scam." I wrote letters to expose this incredibly foolish scheme.
Two years later, in July 1994, the water plant was completely flooded and disabled for 3 weeks. The Macon Levee failed. Businesses and homes along Riverside Drive and elsewhere were lost. Supporters of the Eisenhower Parkway Extension and Levee Scam retreated for awhile and plotted new strategies. Lately these people have been actively seeking public money again to fund their risky business. Low water and the current drought has fueled their delusion of taming the Ocmulgee River.
Anyone who still supports building an extension of Eisenhower Parkway into and through the Ocmulgee Floodway just south of downtown Macon is either ignorant of hydrodynamics and history or they are selfish and careless gamblers hoping to cash in on short term profits before the next big flood forewarns their folly again.
Politicians who continue to pay lip service to this scheme are not worthy of re-election. Macon needs to move ahead with better plans for a better future. Please visit http://www.macon-bibb.com/EPE for extensive online documentation.
Posted on Wed, Mar. 06, 2002
Feds to get Fall Line Freeway plan by late summer, DOT says
By Andy Peters
Telegraph Staff Writer
ATLANTA - A top Georgia transportation official said Tuesday that he expects to submit to federal officials by late summer a proposal to complete the Fall Line Freeway across the Ocmulgee River.
The announcement comes three weeks after Macon Mayor Jack Ellis, Bibb County Commission Chairman Tommy Olmstead and other Macon leaders met in Atlanta to persuade Gov. Roy Barnes to promote the completion of the Fall Line Freeway.
The state expects to submit to the federal Transportation Department in middle or late summer its plan for the Fall Line Freeway, said Frank Danchetz, chief engineer for the Georgia Department of Transportation. That will happen after the state gets the results of environmental and cultural impact studies.
Macon officials were encouraged by the news.
"They're on target," said Al Williams, a director of the Macon Economic Development Commission.
Williams and other Macon business representatives were in Atlanta on Tuesday for the yearly Macon Day in Atlanta, when community leaders meet with lawmakers at the state Capitol.
The Macon contingent has said it will back any one of seven proposed routes. The road is expected to follow Eisenhower Parkway, which now dead-ends near Seventh Street.
Completion of the project has stalled as the state has been forced to study alternative routes. But it's unlikely there's much more to study, Danchetz said.
"I think we've exhausted all possibilities," he said. "We're at a point now where we're going to have to tell (the federal DOT) that any new studies will cost money without generating much new information."
Federal transportation officials must approve the state's plan, because the Fall Line Freeway will cross Interstate 16.
After meeting Feb. 11 with the Macon group, Barnes said completion of the Fall Line Freeway was his top transportation priority, and he would provide funds for the project. Funding for the completion has been estimated between $100 million and $150 million. The money will come from an $8.3 billion statewide transportation plan announced in June.
To contact Atlanta bureau chief Andy Peters, call (404) 659-8735 or e-mail email@example.com.
|1994 Levee in Macon, Georgia|
WE NEED YOUR HELP!!
For several years, we and other concerned organizations and individuals, including the Creek and Seminole people, have engaged in an effort to prevent a four-lane, divided highway from desecrating the Ocmulgee Old Fields Traditional Cultural Property (District), the first listing of its kind on the National Register of Historic Places east of the Mississippi River. The TCP encompasses:
Ocmulgee National Monument
Bond Swamp National Wildlife Refuge
Scott-McCall Archaeological Preserve
Most of Macon’s Central City Park
Much of the Ocmulgee River Heritage Greenway
The proposed Eisenhower Parkway Extension would bisect wetlands between Ocmulgee National Monument’s Macon Plateau Unit and its Lamar Mounds and Village Unit; the highway’s interchange with I-16 would be partially constructed on the Scott-McCall Archaeological Preserve; the road would sever the wildlife corridor linking the National Monument to Bond Swamp National Wildlife just downstream. This “Longest Bridge in Georgia” is the Georgia Department of Transportation’s preferred cross-Macon connector for the Fall Line Freeway. Construction costs for this four-mile-long strip of concrete are currently estimated at $130-million. Local proponents of this route refuse to consider prudent and feasible alternatives that would save massive expeditures of precious public funds and preserve Macon’s nationally significant cultural and natural heritage. For more information: