In a November letter from the state to Henry County, GDOT Commissioner Russell McMurry expressed disappointment after the county “voted against moving forward with the preliminary engineering for the I-75 at Bethlehem Road proposed Interchange.” County commissioners tabled a contract to award preliminary engineering in May and voted 3-3* in October to exclude the project from the county’s application for federal funding.
Locust Grove submitted the project for consideration to receive federal funding in a last second move to keep the project advancing after Henry County excluded it. The Locust Grove council committed up to $2 million dollars in local funding, able to match up to $8 million in federal funding.
GDOT’s reference to SPLOST funding stems from $5.5 million allocated towards the project in SPLOST IV. After costs incurred to complete the interchange feasibility study and interchange justification report, remaining funds equal $5.2 million.
The Bethlehem Road interchange ties into the state’s commercial vehicle lanes.
Georgia DOT announced in October an accelerated timeline to build commercial vehicle lanes along I-75. The lanes are planned to break ground in 2024.
The first-of-its-kind in the nation project starts at I-475 in Macon constructing two barrier-separated truck only lanes adjacent I-75 north to McDonough. The northern terminus is expected to be at a dedicated tie-in to the Bethlehem Road interchange.
The first public information open houses about the truck lanes project, where residents can learn more and submit comments, are expected in the third quarter of 2020.
*The October vote was three in favor of including the interchange (Chair Wood, Commissioners Wilson and Barham) and three opposed (Commissioners Clemmons, Thomas, and Holmes).