UPDATE: Problems with funding for possible new interstate in Augusta

By  | 

Friday, January 4, 2019
News 12 at 6/NBC at 7

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) -- There has been a lot of talk about a new interstate for Augusta running all the way to west Texas. However, there might be some problems getting money for it.

GDOT is already had issues finding the money for nearly half of the road projects in Georgia.

There are at least 13 projects that got the ax this year, including a project in Columbia County.

GDOT wanted to re-pave Washington Road, starting at William Few Parkway and going all the way down to Scotts Ferry Road near Wildwood Park.

That project and the rest will have to wait until next year.

The point GDOT is trying to make is they already don't have the money for the projects they want to do.

GDOT doesn't seem to be behind I-14 but a lot of people are interested in it.

Although a lot of people are interested in I-14, the decision made on the federal level. It could take years before anything is official.

If it was to get approved, they would need more federal money.

Thursday, January 3, 2019
News 12 at 6/NBC at 7

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) -- There is a lot of buzz around a possible new interstate coming to Augusta.

Today people with the Georgia Department of Transportation tell News 12 this plan for I-14 is "far-fetched"

One reason they are saying this is “far-fetched” is because of money. GDOT says they barely have enough for projects already on the books like widening the bridge here at the state line to six lanes.

Plus, planning it on federal dollars in the middle of a government shutdown isn't easy.

Kyle Collins is with the GDOT District Communications. As he prepares for his daily route, he may have another route out of town in the future.

“It seems like a great concept with Interstate-14 but as most folks have found out there's a lot more that goes into it," said Collins.

It's going to take money, a lot of it.

“We're talking about billions and billions to potentially do something like this. That's just talking about in our state, not to mention what these other states are going to have to spend,” said Collins.

Collins says its federal money they don't have and the money would be taken away from other road projects.

So if they were to start construction on Interstate-14, highways like 296, right outside of Wrens would look a little different. So instead of seeing a four-lane road, they'd have to change it into an interchange with an overpass and an on and off ramp.

“So it's not like a next year we can start on a project of this magnitude."

It's a project that could take decades. Plus, Collins says you may not realize it when you're driving but there's already a route that connects Augusta to Macon and Columbus.

“It’s designated as the Fall Line Freeway. It was actually 100% complete as of 2017 and last year we signed it as Georgia 540,” said Collins.

It's 215 miles of a four-lane divided highway.

“It's not signed specifically as an interstate like your I-20, your 520, your 85 but it kind of accomplishes that connection this I-14 proposal is talking about,” said Collins.

That 4-lane highway he mentioned officially starts at Deans Bridge and Bobby Jones.

Augusta commissioners voted on this yesterday but it was basically ceremonial.

It is difficult to nail down a timeline considering a project like this has not been seen in quite some time. It easily could take years, assuming it would be funded tomorrow.

Wednesday, January 2, 2019
News 12 at 6/NBC at 7

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) -- Years down the line I-20 as you know it could be completely different. Local officials do not have any say on what happens to interstates but they can get the ball rolling on ideas.

Commissioners agreed to support I-14 coming through Augusta. The item was supposed to be discussed individually on its own. In the end, leaders simply moved it to the consent agenda meaning, there was no long in-depth conversation about this. Just a quick “okay.”

Commissioner Brandon Garrett says it’s a no-brainer. It is a way to connect families and communities.

“We all know that Augusta is a growing. I believe that adding additional access to roads that would connect Augusta, Macon and that being added incentive to help our development,” said Garrett.

Augusta probably won’t see any changes anytime soon. So what could happen next?

News 12 spoke with the Traffic Engineering Department and this is a federal decision. It could take years and years.

Federal funding would need to be adjusted. And that can’t happen until federal committees vote on what they think is best for the interstate.

8:03 a.m.

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) -- A new interstate could be in the works, running from Augusta to west Texas.

The proposed I-14 would begin in west Texas at I-10 and end in Augusta at I-20. The Georgia section would pass through Columbus, Macon and Augusta.

The hope for this new stretch of interstate is that it will connect a number of military bases, seaports, major cities and large highways across the southeast. '

Augusta commissioners are expected to vote on whether to support Augusta's portion of the interstate Wednesday.