A few years ago (in 2014), we brought you the story about the plans for the new I-16/75 Interchange. In June of 2017, the Georgia Department of Transportation finally broke ground on the new interchange. Now, we are almost 2 years into construction. With constantly shifting traffic patterns and long delays, many Central Georgians wonder when it will ever finish.
Unfortunately, the construction won’t be going away any time soon. The interchange project is made up of 7 phases. One phase (phase 1B) was completed last summer. The 3 active phases should finish up by Fall of 2021. In 2021, the Department of Transportation will send out requests for construction bids for phases 4 and 5. This means there should be a few months of reprieve. Construction can’t start for those phases until GDOT decides who will be in charge of construction for the next two phases. Finally, in 2023, GDOT will send out a request for bids for phase 6. To see a diagram showing the plans for the new interchange, click here. Here’s an overview of the planned phases:
Phase 1A: I-16 Eastbound Part 1: A new bridge over the Ocmulgee River for I-75 North’s ramp to I-16 East (that will become a pedestrian bridge after phase 4), a new exit ramp to Spring Street, a new eastbound bridge over Spring Street, and traffic improvements along MLK. To be completed by Summer 2021.
Phase 1B: Pleasant Hill Mitigation: Create additional greenspace and parks in Pleasant Hill, reroute certain surface streets to make way for new interstate ramps, relocate Little Richard’s childhood home, and instillation of visual and noise barriers. Completed in Summer 2018.
Phase 2: I-75 North Southside: New Hardman Avenue northbound on-ramp that will directly access both I-75 North and the I-16 exit ramp; move the I-75 northbound exit to I-16 south of Walnut Street, so that the exit ramp begins under the pedestrian bridge, build a new pedestrian bridge, build a new bridge for Riverside Drive and Walnut Street over I-75. To be completed by Winter 2021.
Phase 3: I-75 South: Rerouting of the mainline I-75 between the current I-16 exit and Riverside Drive so that both northbound and southbound are together with only a barrier between them; Move I-75 South exit to Hardman Avenue so that it begins where just west of the current I-16 exit; new bridge over Ocmulgee River for I-16 west; and new bridge from I-16 west to I-75 South and Hardman Avenue. To be completed by Winter 2021.
Phase 4: I-16 Eastbound Part 2: There will be two new bridges over the Ocmulgee River for I-16 Eastbound (one will be for the exit to Spring Street and 2nd Street and the other will be for mainline I-16). New ramps to Exit 1 from both I-75 North and South exit ramps to I-16. Add eastbound exit to 2nd Street, new 2nd Street bridge, and new eastbound exit ramp and on-ramp at MLK. Bid for construction will go out in 2021 (estimated completion 2024-2026 depending on when construction begins).
Phase 5: I-16 West: New I-16 westbound exit and on-ramp at MLK, new westbound exit and on ramps at 2nd Street, new Spring Street westbound on ramps, new bridges across the river for I-16 west to access I-75. Bid for construction will go out in 2021 (estimated competition 2024-2026 depending on when construction begins).
Phase 6: I-75 Northside: New tunnel for railroad tracks under I-75, widen I-75 between Pierce Avenue and I-16, move I-75 South’s exit to I-16 farther north to its final location. Bid for construction will go out in 2023 (estimated completion 2025-2026 depending on when completion begins).
By the time I graduate college, GDOT will be beginning the process of construction for the final phase, if they are on schedule. My estimations put their best case scenario with theconstruction project lasting just under a total of 10 years. Ten years is a LONG time! Hopefully it doesn’t take quite that long.