The Rollins family did just about everything it could do to block a new road linking Interstate 75 to Rome and running just south of the family’s vacation home and prized fishing lake.
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AJC writer Kristina Torres contributed to this report.
The Georgia Department of Transportation and the Rollins family - owner of pest control businesses including Orkin - have fought for decades over plans to create a direct route to Rome from Interstate 75 that would cut through the family’s 1,800-acre ranch. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has brought readers insight and context into this extraordinary dispute.
A timeline of the dispute:
1970s-1980s: O. Wayne Rollins, the powerful business executive, puts together more than 1,800 acre ranch in Bartow County. As he amasses the last parcels of land, Rome leaders lobby the state for a more direct route from Interstate 75.
Late 1980s: The state plans a route to Rome north of the Rollins estate but changes its plans after Anheuser-Busch said it would buy the property and build a brewery there. The new route cuts through Rollins’ land, prompting a legal fight.
1993: A federal judge sided with the Rollins family and temporarily blocked the road from going forward.
Late 2000s: After more delays and another scuttled route, state planners once again plan to blaze a trail through a part of the Rollins land. Rollins responds by hiring attorneys, engineers, scientists and consultants to fend off the construction.
June 2013: The Federal Highway Administration finds that building the road could have an “adverse effect” on a nearby abandoned mine eligible for the National Register of Historic Places. Gov. Nathan Deal said the decision would require a “vast amount of energy, time and resources” to build the proposed road, and suggests exploring other routes.