UPDATED: June 13 at 7:48 a.m.
The Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) has denied a request from the
According to a GDOT press release, the department, after consultation with Gov. Nathan Deal, denied the request.
"Maintaining the safety of our roadways is this Department’s foremost mission," the GDOT press release stated. "Encountering signage and members of the KKK along a roadway would create a definite distraction to motorists."
The GDOT also advised the section of roadway listed in the application was ineligible due to the posted limit exceeding 55 mph.
"Further, promoting an organization with a history of inciting civil disturbance and social unrest would present a grave concern to the Department," officials added. "Finally, issuing this permit would have the potential to negatively impact the quality of life, commerce and economic development of Union County and all of Georgia."
The KKK request had been met with opposition in the form of an online petition campaign.
The Adopt-a-Highway program enlists volunteers to clean Georgia's roadways. In return, participating companies and organizations receive recognition in the form of signs posted along the adopted stretch of roadway -- a recognition Change.org petition organizer Nioshii Wilde decries as inappropriate.
"As a Georgia resident, I do not want a highway funded by taxpayer dollars to become an advertising site for an organization that has murdered, maimed and terrorized American people for 150 years. The KKK is not a civic-minded organization; they are a domestic terror group," Wilde wrote on the Change.org petition page.
According to a Change.org press release, each signature on Wilde's petition generates an email to Georgia Department of Transportation board chairman Keith Golden.
“Nioshii Wilde and other Georgia residents are speaking out and letting the Georgia Department of Transportation know that they don’t support a KKK-adopted highway,” said Gabriela Garcia of Change.org in a released statement. “The petition is gathering hundreds of signatures by the hour--it’s clear that the issue is resonating with people.”