Georgia plans for double the number of drivers by 2050

Nearly four years ago, construction begin on the Interstate 20 bridge over the Savannah River at the state line.
Published: Mar. 10, 2023 at 1:59 PM EST
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AUGUSTA, Ga. - By 2050, the number of drivers on Georgia’s roads will more than double. Lawmakers have allotted billions of dollars to the Georgia Department of Transportation to start projects to adjust for the growth in the state.

Georgia Transportation Commissioner Russell McMurry gave a presentation to state lawmakers on Thursday at the state Capitol in Atlanta.

“We want Georgia to continue to be the No. 1 state to do business,” said McMurry.

In the CSRA, the work includes a $73 million project is set to replace four lanes with six at the Georgia-South Carolina state line between Augusta and North Augusta.

It’s a project that’s been going on for nearly four years now.

But House Transportation Committee Chairman Rick Jasperse, R-Jasper, said most projects take roughly 10 years to complete.

“The big expansion is going on right now. We see it, we feel it, you cant drive throughout our state and see the truck traffic and the moving of rail that is going on,” said Jasperse.

As far as the I-20 project locally, Kyle Collins, spokesman for the Georgia Department of Transportation, said: “It’s a major undertaking, about a roughly two-plus-mile area there from the Georgia Welcome Center going all the way to Exit 1 at West Martintown Road across the line with our friends in South Carolina.”

Completion was set for this year, but now it’s allegedly been bumped to 2024.

“From that initial schedule, we are slightly behind,” Collins said. “The contractor has done a great job dealing with, you know, challenges that any businesses have dealt with the last few years with material availability, workforce, fighting through some weather, but they’ve been good with us trying to stick to some of the milestones.”

The big scope of plans is to replace all the old bridges over the Augusta Canal and Savannah River and also widen I-20, add an extra lane, and add extra-wide shoulders on the inside and outside, which will be 12 feet, he said.

“So you have a lot more capacity, a lot more safety coming through that area to get accidents clear if they do occur,” he said.

But hanging over the whole project is Masters week in about a month when the whole region sees an increase in traffic.

“The kind of the new push hoping to get implemented prior to Masters week is finalizing what will be final alignment on the westbound side,” Collins said.

But it should all be great when it’s done, Collins said.

“Everybody knows it’s a major undertaking,” he said. “These bridges have reached the end of their service life. Older designs are typically a 50-year lifespan. So we’re beyond 50 years at this point.”

From reports by Abby Kousouris at WANF and Hallie Turner at WRDW.