The Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) held a groundbreaking ceremony last week for the Interstate 16/I-75 Interchange Improvement project in Macon, valued at nearly $500 million.
The project will add improvements to 2.5 miles of I-75 from Hardeman Avenue to Pierce Avenue and almost 3 miles of I-16 from I-75 to Walnut Creek, GDOT reports.
“I-16 and I-75 are major freight corridors from the Port of Savannah to Metro Atlanta and Macon’s gateway; they also serve as part of the daily commute of many local residents,” says GDOT Commissioner Russell McMurry. “Improving the safety and operations of this interchange is paramount. But more importantly, we are proud of the efforts to work collaboratively with the surrounding neighborhoods in our decisions for improving the interchange, while working with community leaders to protect the rich history and cultural legacy of the Macon area.”
GDOT reports the completed project would provide “operational improvements, reduce congestion, improve safety, provide better access to and from the downtown Macon area and improve sight distances.” The project’s design also aims to separate through traffic from local traffic, a goal the department says will “substantially reduce” the crash rate in the area.
The total estimated cost for the project includes funding for preliminary engineering, design, right-of-way and construction costs. Because it is such a large and complex project that would have a big impact on motorists, the project is being built in seven phases. GDOT has awarded contracts for the first four phases so far, with a total investment of $268.8 million. The first phase is expected to be complete by summer 2018.
More details on the project are available here.