The Department of Transportation held an informational meeting this week to discuss a number of potential plans for widening Highway 41 between Hahira and N. Valdosta Road. One of the proposals mentioned involves a dual bypass through the city, taking what were ordinary city streets and turning them into throughways, similar to Homerville.

While the county has allowed tremendous development at the end of the highway close to N. Valdosta Road, Hahira remains a quiet, sleepy bedroom community, rich in history and long on tradition. Why destroy it?

With Homerville, Highway 84 is it. There are no alternative routes north or south for a hundred miles that will take you on an east/west route from the Alabama line to the coast. But I-75 is less than a mile from the heart of downtown Hahira. There is an alternate route, one that was made for heavy amounts of traffic, and one that has already been widened. And it’s working. Those traveling from Hahira and points south into Valdosta use I-75, even the school buses headed to Lowndes High School, making four laning Highway 41 unnecessary and redundant.

If the county wants to work with the businesses it has allowed to build on the southern end near Valwood to add a turn lane, it would solve much of the issues property owners and residents have. But don’t allow an entire community to lose its charm and quality of life over a highway that few want and fewer still use. Put that DOT money to work in other areas where it is sorely needed.

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