ATLANTA — Effingham County will see improvements to the interchange at I-16/Old River Road three years earlier than originally anticipated.
The Georgia Department of Transportation has announced that it is moving ahead with this widening project, now anticipated to begin construction in 2019 instead of the original 2022 date.
The fruition of this project is due to funding flexibility created by Georgia’s Transportation Funding Act (TFA) of 2015, the efforts of District 1 Georgia Department of Transportation Board member Ann Purcell, and the three local legislators serving the area: Senator Jack Hill, Representative Jon Burns and Representative Bill Hitchens.
“Enhancing transportation infrastructure is vital for economic development in Effingham County,” said House Majority Leader, Jon Burns (R-Newington). “Improvements such as this, will bring additional employment opportunities to the area and improve safety on our roads.”
This $10.5 million, quarter-mile long project includes widening the existing two-lane roadway and bridge on Old River Road to a four-lane divided highway with a 20-foot raised median. Added safety features and operational improvements include rural shoulders and rumble strips. The I-16/Old River Road interchange will remain a diamond interchange. However, the ramps will be reconstructed with concrete to meet a speed of 45 mph, and will also be widened for turn lanes.
The deepening of the Port of Savannah creates new business opportunities for the state and for the Effingham County region. Advancing the widening and other upgrades at I-16/Old River Road will improve safety for car and truck traffic and will also enhance the attractiveness of the area to new commercial opportunities.
“Thanks to funding opportunities provided by the TFA, Southeast Georgia is able to take advantage of these needed infrastructure improvements.” said Senator Jack Hill (R-Reidsville). “Our fiscally conservative principles allow our state to take advantage of improvements, like the deepening of the Port of Savannah, to bring additional economic opportunities and commerce to our communities.”
“The I-16/Old River Rd. Interchange Project is crucial to not only Effingham County but all of Southeast Georgia.” said Representative Bill Hitchens (R-Rincon). “This project will help spur economic growth but also include needed safety measures that will improve highways for all Georgians.”
Prior to putting the construction out for bid, Georgia DOT will evaluate the project design, which was done by Effingham County, to determine if additional permitting, utility coordination and environmental analysis is necessary.
For information about the Transportation Funding Act, visit www.GAroads.org.