Providing safe passage

New developments at the I-16/I-95 interchange are a short-term payoff for long-term reward

The Georgia DOT, the 16@95 Improvement Projects Design-Build team - Savannah Mobility Contractors - and the Georgia Governor’s Office of Highway Safety work together to convert two of those “leafs” into wide, semi-circle turbine ramps that will take traffic from I-16 up a central bridge that swoops around the I-16/I-95 interchange center.
The intersection of I-16 and I-95 is a bustling and precarious thoroughfare. Over the years, an increase in traffic from motorists and freight traffic from our ever-growing port has caused congested, often dangerous conditions.

To improve these roadways for all, the Georgia Department of Transportation initiated an improvement project in 2019 which is still ongoing.

The intention of the project is to “increase capacity, improve freight movement, and provide overall operational improvements,” said Jill Nagel, District Communications Officer for Georgia DOT. “This will enhance safety and decrease travel times.”

I-16 is being widened to three lanes in both directions to the east of the I-16/I-95 interchange, and the interchange itself is being restructured. The two existing loop ramps located on the west side of the interchange are being replaced with a rare, partial-turbine configuration of ramps.

click to enlarge The Georgia DOT, the 16@95 Improvement Projects Design-Build team - Savannah Mobility Contractors - and the Georgia Governor’s Office of Highway Safety work together to convert two of those “leafs” into wide, semi-circle turbine ramps that will take traffic from I-16 up a central bridge that swoops around the I-16/I-95 interchange center. - PHOTO COURTESY OF GDOT
Photo courtesy of GDOT
The Georgia DOT, the 16@95 Improvement Projects Design-Build team - Savannah Mobility Contractors - and the Georgia Governor’s Office of Highway Safety work together to convert two of those “leafs” into wide, semi-circle turbine ramps that will take traffic from I-16 up a central bridge that swoops around the I-16/I-95 interchange center.
For those of us who aren’t in construction, here’s a visual: from a bird’s eye view, a full turbine configuration looks like an enormous concrete spiral or whirlpool. Right now, the interchange is set up in a cloverleaf design. The interstate entries and exits consist of four loops creating a perfect clover shape from above. This improvement project is going to convert two of those “leafs” into wide, semi-circle turbine ramps that will take traffic from I-16 up a central bridge that swoops around the I-16/I-95 interchange center. This design allows heavy traffic to move swiftly through the interchange rather than stalling in the tight turns of a cloverleaf design.

Other improvements include a two-lane median crossover for emergency use and hurricane evacuations, installing Intelligent Transportation System technology such as cameras and traffic condition signage, the addition of lighting through the interchange for improved nighttime conditions, and new collector-distributor lanes on I-95 northbound which will separate vehicles exiting and entering from I-16 and allow for safer merging.

“We saw a lot of weaving with people trying to get on and off and then having to cross three lanes, so this will create space for those vehicles,” Nagel said.

All in all, the completed project will allow for more than 100,000 vehicles to navigate this stretch of highway simultaneously.

But as we know, highway construction can seem slow-going and lead to a temporary increase in congestion. All travel lanes are expected to open to traffic in the third quarter of 2022, but in the meantime, conditions are less safe for everyone including motorists and construction crews.

“Right now, this feels like growing pains in this area,” Nagel said. “To make it better, we ask everyone going through that area to slow down and pay attention. The roadway is still safe but you have to be an alert driver.

click to enlarge The Georgia DOT, the 16@95 Improvement Projects Design-Build team - Savannah Mobility Contractors - and the Georgia Governor’s Office of Highway Safety work together to convert two of those “leafs” into wide, semi-circle turbine ramps that will take traffic from I-16 up a central bridge that swoops around the I-16/I-95 interchange center. - PHOTO COURTESY OF GDOT
Photo courtesy of GDOT
The Georgia DOT, the 16@95 Improvement Projects Design-Build team - Savannah Mobility Contractors - and the Georgia Governor’s Office of Highway Safety work together to convert two of those “leafs” into wide, semi-circle turbine ramps that will take traffic from I-16 up a central bridge that swoops around the I-16/I-95 interchange center.
“When this is all complete, there will be three lanes and more room to maneuver. In the meantime, stay safe, and if possible, find an alternate route.”

The Georgia DOT, the 16@95 Improvement Projects Design-Build team - Savannah Mobility Contractors - and the Georgia Governor’s Office of Highway Safety are working together to keep this stretch of highway safe. Now is not the time to speed through here. Law enforcement officers have increased their presence in the area and have issued over 400 citations between February and March of this year.

“When you get behind the wheel of a vehicle on Georgia roadways, you’re part of a community,” Nagel said. “We’re a community of drivers, and we really need to look out for each other and do what we can to keep everyone safe.”

Shifting, narrowing lanes can catch motorists by surprise.

Construction workers are often close to the main road with little protection from oncoming traffic. The public is urged to stay focused, wear seatbelts, and stay within the 55-mph speed limit to prevent injuries and, worse, fatalities to themselves or others. The 22-mile span of 1-16 extending away from Savannah at Dean Forest Rd. toward the Bryan/Bulloch County line has seen nearly 1,800 crashes and 16 fatalities since 2016.

“We’ve seen an increase in distracted and impaired driving,” Nagel said. “We’re just getting the message out there to put down your cell phones, buckle up and drive alert. You need to be aware of your surroundings and the vehicles around you. Motorists are also urged to slow down while in work zones. These workers are someone’s family, and everyone wants to go home to their loved ones.”

If you’d like to stay updated on the progress of these improvements, you can follow along through the project webpage at majormobilityga.com or through Georgia 511 channels – 511ga.org or dial “511” from your phone. You can also follow Georgia DOT through their social media channels.

Comments (0)

Add a comment

Add a Comment
  • or

Right Now On

Now Playing

By Film...

By Theater...