- The Georgia Department of Transportation last week broke ground on a $500 million highway interchange project near Macon, GA, according to Equipment World.
- The Interstate 16/Interstate 75 interchange improvement project will separate local traffic from through traffic, which GDOT officials said would reduce the number of accidents. The upgrades should also ease general congestion, improve access to downtown Macon and improve travel conditions between the Port of Savannah and Atlanta.
- In order to minimize negative impact on traffic, the project will be delivered in seven phases, with the first phase's completion scheduled for summer 2018. GDOT has awarded contracts totaling $268.8 million for the first four phases.
The GDOT impressed the nation earlier this year when it was able to replace a burned-down section of Interstate 85 through Atlanta in only six weeks. The 350-foot portion of the highway collapsed after catching fire, leading many national and international media organizations to criticize the city's infrastructure planning and its lack of alternative transportation options. Because the road sees about 400,000 travelers a day and is a critical southeastern U.S. route, GDOT was swift in pushing through an accelerated construction and design process.
GDOT gave contractor C.W. Matthews the contract to perform the work and offered early-completion cash incentives. Crews worked 24 hours a day, fast-tracking the project to beat its schedule and earning Matthews' eligibility for $3.1 million in bonuses.
The bridge project serves as a positive, albeit unintentional, example of what the Trump administration says can be accomplished when public agencies, designers and contractors throw regulatory red tape out the window and streamline construction processes in the name of efficiency.
President Donald Trump put one of his colleagues, billionaire Richard LeFrak, in charge of an infrastructure task force that is supposed to help Trump advance his agenda in that area. LeFrak has suggested adopting the way a judge runs a bankruptcy court arbitration proceeding as a model for how to administer infrastructure projects, with one person reviewing permit paperwork and approving environmental reviews. The administration's goal is to reduce the timeframe of review processes substantially from what can take up to a decade.