The Bibb County courtroom was full of spectators today as citizens were given a chance to voice their concerns over the expansion of the I-75/I-16 interchange.
In order for the interchange to be expanded, GDOT needs to request a permit from the state to utilize land they do not currently own.
GDOT sent letters to people who own plots of land, or who have loved ones buried in the Riverside Cemetery, asking them to come to the court hearing today and ask questions and voice concerns.
According to the law, a permit must be requested before land designated as a cemetery can be used as anything other than a cemetery.
GDOT would need to build a temporary retaining wall between the highway and the cemetery, which would be about 8 feet from the nearest gravesite. A permanent wall would then be built alongside the interstate, and would be about 30 feet from the nearest grave.
But some land owners feel the cemetery will lose some of its beauty, if the trees are pulled out, and a wall is put in.
GDOT says the expansion would not affect any of the graves, but some citizens say the proposed plan is too close for comfort.
Sandra Bray owns a plot of land only about 10 feet away from where the temporary wall would be placed.
"We know the road is going to happen," Bray says. "But we want the least disruption and the most pleasant outcome we can for our loved ones' resting place."
The judge did not approve the request for a permit, but he did not reject the request either. He ordered the groups involved to continue discussion about ways to minimize affecting the cemetery, and to meet again some time next month.