HENRY COUNTY, GA – December 7, 2017 – Henry County officials are looking to add a new interchange at I-75 and Bethlehem Rd., to alleviate traffic congestion and address growth.
County officials, representatives from GDOT, and officials from the Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC) were in attendance for a BOC called meeting on December 4 to hear details of the Interchange Justification Report (IJR) presented by Pat Smeeton with Pond and Company.
The IJR highlights several key factors in justifying the need for an additional interchange. The consultants report that by 2040, the county expects to see a 61 percent increase in population and a 46 percent increase in employment growth. The report says that the ARC predicts a 56 percent increase in freight traffic by the year 2040, driven by the expansion of the Port of Savannah and the Panama Canal. A study of the area’s industrial development shows there is an existing 25 million square feet of industrial space with an additional 15 million square feet planned.
The new interchange has been in the plans for several years and the project is listed in the Henry County Joint County/Cities 2016 Comprehensive Transportation Plan. The IJR comes on the heels of a 2015 I-75 Interchange Feasibility Study that has been documented and accepted by GDOT.
According to the report, the project is aimed at addressing congestion, growth and safety and if approved could be implemented by 2025. The location for the interchange was selected in part because of the heavy truck traffic and warehouse industry along that corridor.
The county currently has $5.5 million set aside for the project, which will address design and some right-of-way acquisition costs. The entire project is expected to cost approximately $47 million. According to SPLOST Transportation Director Roque Romero, once the IJR is approved by the Federal Highway Administration, the county will request funding through both the state and federal government to complete the project.