Children and families safety issues mount as GDOT will build concrete bridge

Announcements, Community

Noted for its historical significance in Fannin County, Shallowford Bridge is eligible to be recognized in The National Registry of Historic Places. While its fate has been determined without much discord among residents of the area, the location of a new bridge has fierce opposition and great concern over the safety of tourists and residents.

Even on a gloomy, off season Sunday afternoon there is considerable traffic using the bridge at Shallowford and Aska road intersection. Boards visibly lift and drop as each vehicle crosses Shallowford bridge, among unseen structural issues found by GDOT. Area residents and businesses agree the bridge needs to be repaired or replaced. It is the proposed location that is a big concern for those most familiar with the area. Here’s why:

During peak tourist season, vehicles often fill the already limited parking areas and park along Aska Road to visit the gem mine, novelty stores, restaurant and tubing businesses. Pedestrian traffic is significant during the warmer months and peak season. The new bridge is scheduled to be built directly in the middle of this already congested area. Excited children, even adults don’t often think about being hit by a vehicle. Locals believe that is what should be of the highest concern and not about being near to the old bridge. The current bridge, while not far from the proposed bridge is just to the South of the busy area.

GDOT’s Grant Waldrup recently stated residences and businesses along Aska Road and Shallowford Bridge Road will be minimally affected. Those who live in and know the area well have expressed a much different opinion.

“If you want to put a bridge directly behind our parking that is the most dangerous section of Aska Road,” stated Kimberly Wolfe, owner of Iron Bridge Cafe. She sat down with this FYN reporter for a candid interview.

She went on to say, if their concerns are ignored then other safety issues need to be installed, “To save these children and families who have small children getting out of these vans, SUV’s, here to enjoy their day with their family, then you put up precautions; a light, speed bumps. You want to make this more dangerous for Aska Road and all these tourists that come to Blue Ridge to bring us this money. That’s what we’re scared to death of. It’s everyone in this area who is concerned. But give us some sort of safety here on Aska Road. Not for our business which will suffer through construction, but it’s a major safety issue.”

“We fought, we tried, we understand a new bridge. We fully support a new bridge. But don’t put it in the most congested area of Aska Road. Cars fly through here 45-50 mph. Imagine if it’s your child, it only takes a second for a car to run off the road.

“You’re up here on vacation. Imagine losing a loved one. That’s what it’s going to take to realize how bad this area is. Do a ‘car count’ in June or July then let me know what your thoughts are then. Don’t do it in September.”

The news our concerns were ignored and currently no further discussion of safety will be addressed by GDOT “brought anger. It brought tears. It made you sick to your stomach when we heard they’re not going to change it,” Wolfe went on to say.

Of bringing it before the Board of Commissioners for a solution, she said, “We can only hope. We don’t know what else to do now.”

Reaching out to Fannin County Board of Commissioners Chairman Stan Helton for comments on safety concerns, “I am open to address all safety concerns.” After the bridge is built they can consider installing flashing lights, reduced speed or other means of ensuring safety.

The bridge is set for construction sometime in 2020.

Author

Aska Road clean up scheduled for Spring – Press Release

Community, Outdoors, Press Release

Fannin Spring Clean-up / Aska Road
Saturday, April 6, 9am

Let’s stem the tide of litter in this beautiful mountain county!

To help Fannin County become a safer, healthier and even better place to live, work and play, a series of community events to clean up litter in Fannin County is in the works.

The first clean-up is scheduled for April 6 on Aska Road; an abandoned tire clean-up will be held later in the spring. Tentative dates for future litter clean-ups are July 13 and October 15.

Besides looking trashy, littering / dumping is illegal, encourages more littering / dumping, reflects badly on our community, decreases property values, reduces economic growth, encourages crime, is a highway safety issue, harms natural resources and costs huge amounts of taxpayer money for clean-up and enforcement.

Please join us, the Fannin Litterbusters, to combat this blight:

DATE: Saturday, April 6, 9am; meet at Public Works building, 229 Aska Road.

CLEAN-UP LOCATION: Aska Road, which is one of the most beautiful but unfortunately one of the most littered roads in the county.

VOLUNTEERS NEEDED: Responsible adults are urged to demonstrate their civic and patriotic pride by volunteering for these clean-up efforts. Volunteers are also encouraged to consider participation in Fannin County’s Adopt-a-Road program http://www.fannincountyga.com/faq_category/adopt-a-road/

SAFETY: Due to safety issues when working close to roadways, volunteers must be at least 18 years of age to participate. For the clean-up event, volunteers are encouraged to have drinking water, safety vests and work gloves. Bags will be provided.

PARTNERS: Fannin County Government, City of Blue Ridge, North Georgia Resource Management Authority, Fannin County Chamber of Commerce, Advanced Disposal Services, local businesses / organizations, residents, and other concerned parties.

QUESTIONS? Contact Marie Woody, Chief Officer of Fannin County Land Development, 706-258-5170.

SIGN UP: fannin.litterbusters@gmail.com

Let’s all pitch in to clean up Fannin County!

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

BACKGROUND:

According to Keep America Beautiful (“Litter in America Factsheet,” January 2010), those under 30 are more likely to litter than those over 30. Communities can reduce their litter rate by

⦁ demonstrating a preference for a litter-free community through on-going efforts to keep litter cleaned up
⦁ setting a standard of caring for the community through improving and beautifying public areas
⦁ stressing individual responsibility for keeping the community clean through messages that emphasize social disapproval of littering

REMINDER:
It is illegal under Georgia statute and Fannin County ordinance to litter or dump garbage.

Fannin County has a stringent solid waste ordinance, which applies to littering, dumping, and hauling waste; violators are subject to fines of $410 to $1000 and possible jail time. [Fannin County Solid Waste Ordinance, Chapter 58 of the Fannin County Code of Ordinances]

Anyone hauling a load in Fannin County must secure and cover the load; if not in compliance, the load will be refused at the disposal site.

Citizens witnessing anyone littering, dumping or hauling an unsecured load can report it to Fannin County Land Development at 706-258-5170. For a citation to be issued to the violator, witnesses must provide their name / address / phone number and be willing to appear in court as a witness.

Witnesses are asked to provide as much information as possible, such as name of company if commercial, vehicle tag number, location of the incident, and pictures if available.

Georgia littering statutes state that it is unlawful for anyone to deposit litter or to allow littering on any public or private property or waters in the state. Violators are subject to fines up to $1000 and jail sentences up to 12 months. The driver of the vehicle involved is responsible for any trash that escapes the vehicle. [O.C.G.A. §16-7-42, §16-7-43, §40-6-249]

 

 

 

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Author

Natalie Kissel

Natalie@FetchYourNews.com

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