Georgia Department of Transportation Commissioner Russell McMurry joined Macon-Bibb County Mayor Robert Reichert and state legislators for a ground-breaking ceremony to launch a $500 million Interstate 16/I-75 Interchange project that is part of a larger regional freight trucking route.
The department said that project includes significant improvements to about 2.5 miles of I-75 from Macon’s Hardeman Avenue to Pierce Avenue and almost 3 miles of I-16 from I-75 to Walnut Creek.
“I-16 and I-75 are major freight corridors from the Port of Savannah to Metro Atlanta and Macon’s gateway,” McMurry said. “They also serve as part of the daily commute of many local residents. Improving the safety and operations of this interchange is paramount.”
The department has so far awarded $268.8 million in contracts for the first four of seven construction phases, and said the first phase will be completed in summer 2018.
GDOT said the entire project “represents an investment of nearly $500 million, which includes funding for preliminary engineering, design, right-of-way and construction costs. When completed, the project will provide operational improvements, reduce congestion, improve safety, provide better access to and from the downtown Macon area and improve sight distances.”
It will provide better access and efficiency for commercial vehicles traveling from the Port of Savannah and for local and regional deliveries, the announcement said, “due to reduced congestion and improved travel time through the interchanges.”
It is also designed to separate through traffic from local traffic, which is expected to substantially reduce the crash rate in the area, GDOT said.
The work includes improvements to several interchanges, adding a collector-distributor road system and building, replacing or upgrading more than 39 bridge structures.