A view of the I-16/I-75 interchange facing south. (GDOT photo)
Contractors for the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) are hard at work on the construction activities related to the I-16/I-75 Interchange Improvement Project in Macon-Bibb County.
With a cost of $500 million, GDOT considers the upgrade to the I-16/I-75 interchange to be a top safety and mobility megaproject for the state of Georgia. Its massive scope includes widening and reconstructing the two interstates in Bibb County, as well as the interchange in the City of Macon.
Ground was broken in 2017 on the I-16/I-75 Improvement Project, which is to be delivered in seven design and construction phases that will continue through 2030.
E.R. Snell Contractor Inc., in Snellville, Ga., is responsible for the construction of Phases 1b, 2 and 3 of the interchange improvements under two separate contracts worth $168 million. GDOT also awarded a $63 million contract to Marietta-based C.W. Matthews for the Phase 1 construction.
The I-16/I-75 reconstruction project will improve the safety of the corridor by widening and reconstructing I-75 from Hardeman Avenue to Pierce Avenue, and I-16 from I-75 to Walnut Creek within the City of Macon.
Each of the interstate highways are being improved with the construction of wider shoulders, concrete barriers and, in most locations, additional lanes.
A Collector/ Distributor (CD) road system is being constructed parallel to both I-16 and I-75. Modifications to bridges and surface streets within the project area will accommodate the additional lanes and CD roads along the interstates. These improvements will provide opportunities for turning movements, as well as create additional storage for these turning movements.
GDOT said when the I-16/I-75 Interchange project is complete, new on-and off-ramps, improvements to 11 bridges, new walls and upgraded drainage systems will deliver safer and improved mobility for Macon-Bibb's local commuters and businesses, regional travelers and commercial freight from Georgia's southern coast to destinations within the state and throughout the United States.
The first three phases of the project are currently under way in Macon-Bibb County.
So that construction crews work can work safely this summer and beyond, long-term closures include:
- The dedicated right turn lane on the I-16 eastbound off-ramp to Spring Street will be shut down through the spring of 2021.
- A permanent lane closure on Coliseum Drive/Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard southbound between Clinton Street to Riverside Drive. Southbound traffic in that area is currently reduced to one lane.
- The far-right lane of I-75 northbound at GA 19/Georgia Avenue (Exit 164) is closed to traffic for several months.
- Spring Street's far-right lane at the I-16 westbound on-ramp, as well as the right-hand on-ramp to I-16 westbound, are also both closed for several months, while the Spring Street on-ramp to I-16 westbound has been relocated to the far-left lane.
The second full week of July saw work on Phase 2 and Phase 3 from Hardeman Avenue to I-16 eastbound. Included in that construction was:
- Continued building of the Riverside Bridge superstructure over I-75 and the Walnut Street bridge superstructure.
- Work on the substructure and superstructure of the I-16 westbound bridge over the Ocmulgee River.
- Erecting retaining walls and concrete sound and visual walls alongside both directions of I-75.
- Starting the placement of asphalt and concrete pavement on the far-right lane and right shoulder lane of I-75 northbound between Hardeman Avenue and the Pedestrian Bridge.
- Continuing the demolition of the concrete pavement on the left lane along I-75 southbound from the Riverside Drive bridge to the Hardeman Avenue bridge.
- Completing the demolition of the existing I-75 southbound bridge over the Norfolk Southern Railroad.
- Paving in the right lane on I-75 northbound between the Walnut Street bridge to just south of the Riverside Drive bridge.
The first phase of the project is made up of various improvement tasks from the I-16/I-75 split to the Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard exit. Among them are:
- Continued work on the superstructure for the bridge along I-16 eastbound near Spring Street.
- Work on the superstructure and the substructure of the new I-16 eastbound bridge over the Ocmulgee River.
- New retaining walls along I-16 eastbound between Spring Street and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard.
- Ongoing demolition of the existing Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard Bridge over the Ocmulgee River.
- Grading activities will continue at the I-16 eastbound entrance and exit ramps at Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and Spring Street.
- Crews also will remove the existing pavement on Spring Street's far-left lane under the I-16 bridges.
I-16 eastbound, along the Ocmulgee River and Macon-Bibb County's downtown. The recently completed Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard Bridge and the exit from I-16 can be seen. (GDOT photo)