The I-85 widening project is the largest investment in roadway mobility improvements in the state's history. The Major Mobility Investment Program (MMIP) project will provide mobility improvements in Jackson County.
The Georgia Department of Transportation (Georgia DOT) announced the ceremonial groundbreaking of the I-85 Widening, Phase 2 project. This project will widen I-85 from two to three lanes in both directions from SR 53 to just north of US 129. The project is a part of the Major Mobility Investment Program (MMIP) and will extend the widening already completed on I-85 in June 2020 through the I-85 Widening, Phase 1 project.
In accordance with social distancing practices, instead of a typical in-person groundbreaking event, Georgia DOT produced a video to celebrate this project milestone. Below is the groundbreaking video on Georgia DOT's YouTube channel at https://youtu.be/RipBY6JwCmY. The video features the "ceremonial dirt dig," imagery and visuals of project corridor, and includes remarks from Georgia DOT leadership, members of the project team, and local leaders.
"I'm excited to see what this project, as well as the entire MMIP, brings to benefit our region and the state of Georgia," said State Transportation Board Vice Chairman, Emily Dunn, who represents the 9th Congressional District. "At the end of the day, we all share a common duty to the people of Georgia, and we look forward to improving the quality of our transportation system for years to come."
In addition to widening I-85 from two to three lanes, the project will include replacing one overpass bridge and six mainline bridges along I-85. Construction officially began in October 2020 with paving activities and heavier construction is anticipated to begin in early 2021. The project is currently scheduled to complete in 2023.
"As Jackson County continues to grow, the widening of I-85 through this area has become a necessity," said Georgia DOT Commissioner, Russell R. McMurry, P.E. "This corridor is utilized for both freight and residential travel, and the I-85 Widening, Phase 2 project will provide significant relief."
The Department is utilizing an innovative delivery method through Design-Build, which accelerates construction and reduces construction times, minimizes travel impacts as much as possible, and maximizes the use of resources and the project budget.
"We are excited to continue the work the Department started with the first phase of widening on I-85." said Georgia DOT Project Manager, Albert (Butch) Welch, P.E. "We look forward to working with the C.W. Matthews team again to deliver these much-needed improvements to enhance mobility north of Atlanta."Jackson County has a population of over 70,000 people and is continuing to grow both residentially and commercially. With four interchanges on I-85 within Jackson County and two more to the county's eastern and western borders, the county offers mobility advantages to both new and current occupants.
"It's great that we are able to add this capacity with the I-85 Widening, Phase 2 project," said State Planning Director, Jannine Miller. "The improvements this project will bring will provide more certainty and reliability in the delivery of cargo and will allow those in the freight industry to perform their jobs more efficiently."
Information on the MMIP is available at https://www.majormobilityga.com and the I-85 Widening, Phase 2 project, is available on the Georgia DOT website at https://majormobilityga.com/projects/i85wideningphase2/