Approximately 33 homes are scheduled to be displaced in the next section of the ongoing State Route Highway 72 widening project. This leg of the project involves a 10+- mile stretch by-passing the towns of Colbert, Georgia and extending to the next portion to be affected which will be the by-pass of Comer, Georgia. Many other homes will be affected by the Georgia Department of Transportation acquiring additional easements or portions of highway frontage from current owners.
The final number of homes to be affected is unknown at this time but is estimated to be 50, due to characteristics of individual lots including the existence of septic tanks, family cemeteries, and more. Negotiations are scheduled to begin soon, with road construction scheduled to begin in 2010.
In The Main Street News, Teri Pope, Northeast Georgia District communications officer for the Georgia Department of Transportation is quoted as stating "Because of things that continue to change during negotiations, that number is fluid...There's always things that can happen, but as of right now, those numbers are projections".
The initial leg of this widening project, from the intersection of Highway 29, North in Athens, Georgia to the city of Colbert, Georgia, left many homeowners angry and disgruntled. The impact on real estate is still felt when attempting to re-sell homes that were not bought or moved by the Georgia Department of Transportation. Many of these homes were left with extremely minimal front yards and small lots, which negatively impact marketing attempts. The Georgia Department of Transportation has published a State Route 72 fact sheet with more information on this project.