I-85 Widening Project expected to reduce overall future delay in corridor by up to 56 percent
Savannah, GA — Governor Nathan Deal and the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) held a ceremonial groundbreaking in Braselton for the first phase of the I-85 Widening Project. This project is the first of 11 initial Major Mobility Investment Program (MMIP) projects to break ground.
“In recent years, thousands of new citizens have come to Georgia to find the opportunities and quality of life indicative of the No. 1 state for business,” said Deal. “This rapid population growth requires transportation infrastructure that moves products and people more quickly and efficiently. Thanks to the General Assembly’s bold action in passing the Transportation Funding Act in 2015, we are now able to begin this first MMIP project, an unprecedented and innovative step to significantly improve Georgia’s transportation network for its users. I also appreciate the work of the State Transportation Board in seeing one of the nation’s largest infrastructure undertakings come to fruition. Today, we ensure that the initiatives we have put into place over these last seven and a half years will continue into the next decade to benefit generations of Georgians yet to come.”
The I-85 Widening Project, constructed in two phases, will increase corridor capacity by adding a third driving lane in each direction by utilizing the existing median along the 24-mile stretch of highway from the I-985 interchange in Gwinnett County to Highway 129 in Jackson County. The first phase will occur between I-985 and just north of SR 53 in Gwinnett, Barrow and Jackson counties. The project also includes three overpass bridge replacements along the corridor and one northbound and one southbound mainline bridge replacements. The project is anticipated to help reduce overall future delay in this corridor by up to 56 percent, according to a Cambridge Systematics study.
“Georgia DOT is making a major investment in the state’s roadway transportation network to meet regional needs and deliver positive results to drivers,” said GDOT Commissioner Russell R. McMurry. “The widening of I-85 and the other MMIP projects together expand Georgia’s transportation infrastructure, helping form a more connected transportation network.”
Construction for the first phase of widening is expected to be completed in 2020.
Together, the 11 initial major mobility projects will add more than 300 new lane miles in Georgia’s metro areas. The projects will also create additional capacity, improve the movement of freight, provide operational improvements and efficiencies, enhance safety and decrease travel times. When completed, the 11 projects will lead to a 5 percent reduction in delay, or more than 19,000+ hours of delay reduction, on the SR 400 corridor each day by 2030.
When completed, the 11 MMIP projects will also provide:
- More than 6,000 hours of delay reduction each day on the top end of I-285 (I-20 to I-20).
- 1,600 hours of time savings each day on the I-285 Westside Express Lanes corridor (I-285 from I-75 to I-20).
- A 56 percent reduction in daily delay on I-85 from Hamilton Mill to SR 211.