The GDOT's Major Mobility Investment Program Promises Major Growth

At a recent transportation update meeting last month, GDOT Commissioner Russell McMurray detailed the agency’s “MMIP” (Major Mobility Investment Projects) program, which includes eleven road projects aimed at reducing congestion along key freight and passenger corridors. If fully executed, the program will add 300 miles of new lane miles—as well as 13,000 new jobs, $1 billion in additional personal income for Georgia residents across the state, $2 billion in state economic growth, and a five percent reduction in travel delays by 2030, the GDOT claims. The predicted new jobs will be permanent, long-term jobs rather than temporary, construction-related positions.

The MMIP comprises three interchange projects, four express lane projects, three interstate widening projects, and one commercial vehicle lane project. Specifically, these projects and their start dates are:

I-85 North Widening from Hamilton Mill to SR 211. Reduces traffic congestion by widening 13 miles of I-85 in Gwinnett and Barrow counties from Hamilton Mill to SR 211, adding one new general-purpose lane in each direction and 26 new lane miles in metro Atlanta. Start date: 2018.

 

I-16 Widening. Reduces traffic congestion near Savannah by widening I-16, one of the state’s busiest passenger and freight corridors. Adds one general purpose lane in each direction between I-95 and I-516 and 12 new lane miles in Savannah. Start date: 2019.

 

I-16/I-95 Interchange. Improves traffic flow and safety at the I-16/I-95 interchange near Savannah. Replaces two cloverleaf loop ramps with flyover bridges, adds a new collector-distributor (CD) lane on I-95 northbound, and adds seven new lane miles in Savannah. Start date: 2019.

 

SR 400 Express Lanes. Provides travel options and more reliable trip times by adding two new express lanes in each direction on SR 400 between I-285 and McGinnis Ferry Road and one express lane in each direction from McGinnis Ferry Road to McFarland Road. Adds 65 new lane miles in metro Atlanta. Start date: 2021.

 

I-285 East Wall Express Lanes. Provides travel options and more reliable trip times by adding one new express lane in each direction on I-285 between I-20 and I-85. Adds 27 new lane miles in metro Atlanta. Start date: 2022.

 

I-285/I-20 East Interchange. Improves traffic flow and safety at the I-285/I-20 east interchange. Reconstructs ramps and constructs new collector-distributor (CD) lanes. Start date: 2022.

 

I-285 express lanes. Provides travel options and more reliable trip times by adding two new express lanes in each direction across the top end of I-285. Adds 53 new lane miles in metro-Atlanta. Start date: 2023.

 

I-285 West Wall Express Lanes. Provides travel options and more reliable trip times by adding one new express lane in each direction on I-285 from I-20 to I-75. Adds 18 new lane miles in metro-Atlanta. Start date: 2023.

 

I-285/I-20 West Interchange. Improves traffic flow and safety at the busy I-285/I-20 west interchange through lane widening and improvements on I-20 eastbound and westbound between Thornton Road and the I-285 interchange. Adds seven new lane miles in metro-Atlanta. Start date: 2023.

 

I-85 North Widening from SR 211 to US 129. Reduces traffic congestion by widening I-85 between SR 211 and US 129, adding one general-purpose lane in each direction. Adds 24 new lane miles in metro-Atlanta. Start date: 2025.

 

I-75 Commercial Vehicle Lanes. Improves traffic congestion and safety by adding two barrier-separated, non-tolled commercial vehicle-only lanes on I-75 northbound from I-475 in Macon to McDonough. Adds 77 new lane miles north of Macon. Start date: 2025.

 

Several of these projects are meant to accommodate the increasingly heavy freight traffic through the state. I-75 in particular is a “freight corridor for the nation,” McMurray said. Truck traffic causes some 25 percent of the state’s highway fatalities, and the current lane designs contribute to many of these accidents. The MMIP will provide dedicated lanes to freight vehicles and will widen the interstate to better separate trucks and cars.

Georgia’s population is expected to expand by two million by 2030, according to the Atlanta Regional Commission, so the cost of doing nothing to improve the state’s highway system could be high, the GDOT maintains. An additional 1.5 million vehicle miles will be driven daily by 2030, the GDOT says, generating an additional $4.7 million in congestion costs. By contrast, the MMIP will promote growth. The program represents “serious investment in serious ways,” McMurray told his audience, “and this translates into development.”

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