Georgia DOT and the city of Locust Grove are working together to advance plans for a new interstate exit between SR 155 / exit 216 and Bill Gardner Parkway / exit 212. The Federal Highway Administration approved an interchange justification report in September 2018 to support the exit’s construction via a new roadway south of the existing Bethlehem Road.
Locust Grove has committed up to two million dollars in local funding as part of an application for federal funding towards the project. Georgia DOT has contributed an additional one million dollars in state funding to advance the project to preliminary engineering.
Preliminary engineering will complete design plans, environmental studies, and right of way surveys. This phase has previously been estimated to require up to four years to complete the work. A public information open house will be held as part of this phase.
Right of way acquisition and construction will follow engineering work. The goal is to open the interchange alongside Georgia DOT’s commercial vehicle lanes in 2028.
Why build a new exit?
Southern Henry County has seen explosive growth in the past twenty years including thousands of new homes and the addition of substantial industrial space. The industrial space contributes thousands of jobs to the Henry County community and helps offset the property tax digest, but it also generates traffic from workers and commercial vehicles. Many of these vehicles travel via Interstate 75 and depend on our local exits to reach their destinations.
The existing interchanges at state route 155 and Bill Gardner Parkway are limited in their ability to be expanded given their layout as underpasses underneath the interstate, and along SR 155, the presence of an adjacent railroad. The four-mile gap between exits provides Henry County with an opportunity to construct a new exit while maintaining an average spacing of two miles between exits and conform with FHWA policy.
The idea for a Bethlehem Road interchange dates back as old as 1999. Developers for what is now Eagle’s Brook considered its construction, but the proposal did not meet FHWA guidelines for spacing in a rural area. Since then, the area has been reclassified as urban and the interchange can be constructed.
Interchange Justification Study Presentation (December 2017)
Interchange Feasibility Study (September 2015)
Last updated on December 16, 2019