The Atlanta Regional Commission shared the project change list for TIP amendment 3 on Thursday, August 5. The public comment period is open through August 19, 2021. Henry County has several projects on the list.
The Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) is the short-term work program for major transportation projects to receive federal funds. It spans a six-year period. Amendment 3 incorporates updates to MMIP projects as well as others. The state’s Major Mobility Investment Program includes several “mega projects” such as the I-75 truck lanes and I-285 express lanes.
As the metropolitan planning organization (MPO) in Atlanta, the Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC) oversees federal transportation dollars in the metro area. Though separate from Georgia DOT, the two agencies work together to provide funding for major projects.
I-75 Truck Lanes
TIP Amendment 3 updates the project extents and cost estimates for the I-75 truck lanes project. Following an open house in late 2020, the project limits extend from I-475 in Macon to SR 20 in McDonough. The physical barrier-separated truck only lanes will end south of SR 155. Then, auxiliary lanes will continue north to state route 20.
At this time, the state is planning to start construction in 2024. Substantial completion is forecast for the end of 2027.
Local feedback has sought a northern extension of the project. Georgia DOT has previously addressed this request. Right of way constraints limit building the project further north into McDonough and Stockbridge. In addition, the I-75 express lanes offer additional peak-hour capacity in the area.
Secondly, the TIP amendment incorporates newly added funding by Georgia DOT. The funds will provide for construction on the Bethlehem Road interchange. The project plans to build a new interstate exit between SR 155 and Bill Gardner Parkway.
The project is presently in preliminary engineering. Right of way acquisition dollars are available in fiscal year 2023. Finally, construction funds are in FY 2024. The new exit has total estimated costs of $119.99 million.
In addition, the project will relocate and widen Bethlehem Road. The project limits extend between Greenwood Industrial and SR 42. An earlier TIP project considered these improvements separately from the exit. The two projects will now be under one TIP project number.
TIP Amendment 3
Finally, the TIP amendment adds the McDonough diverging diamond interchange. This project is concurrently under construction at I-75 and state route 20. The new DDI is paid for in part with federal dollars.
Residents can provide public comment by visiting the ARC website. The comment period is open through August 19. The ARC board will consider action on the amendment in September.
Featured image shows I-75 truck lanes concept near Bill Gardner Parkway in Locust Grove. Photo credit Georgia DOT.
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