Last week’s Travels Tuesday looked at the Georgia 400 Express Lanes, planned in north Fulton and Forsyth Counties. This week’s post will look at another project within former Governor Deal’s Major Mobility Investment Program, the I-75 Commercial Vehicle Lanes planned between Macon and McDonough.
The I-75 corridor is approximately forty miles in length and experiences 75,000 – 90,000 vehicles per day, including 35% truck traffic. Future traffic is projected to reach 120,000 – 150,000 vehicles per day, including 40% trucks. Without some form of improvements, traffic delays will increase slowing down one of Georgia’s most vital transportation corridors. Safety concerns are also present, with on average, one truck involved accident per week.
The project is planning two new concrete barrier-separated lanes in the northbound direction that will be for exclusive use by commercial vehicles aka tractor trailers. Trucks will be required to use the lanes unless they have a destination within the project corridor. The lanes will start at the I-475 / I-75 interchange north of Macon and terminate south of McDonough. The most likely terminus will be an access point interconnected with the county’s future interchange on Bethlehem Road.
The lanes will be built along the east side of the existing interstate, with limited access points along the route. The current plan includes the following entrances / exits:
- Direct access northbound from I-75 or I-475
- Enter / exit weave zone north of Forsyth
- Exit from commercial vehicle lanes to general purpose lanes south of SR 36
- Enter commercial vehicle lanes from general purpose lanes north of SR 16
- Northbound merge into I-75 general purpose lanes south of SR 155, with possible access to Bethlehem Road
The project will include new bridges, bridge replacements, or bridge widening projects at twenty nine locations along the corridor. Estimated at a cost of $1.8 billion to build, there are no plans to toll the lanes.
Once complete, the project is expected to provide several benefits:
- Separate tractor trailer traffic from passenger vehicles, clearing space within the existing general purpose lanes
- Reduce the number of truck / passenger vehicle accidents
- Reduce congestion in the corridor, as much as 40% by one estimate.
- Enhance northbound freight mobility for major generators: the Port of Savannah and Florida.
Georgia DOT is in the environmental and design process for the project, with a public comment period expected in 2021. Construction is forecast to start in 2025 with the lanes opening in 2029.