Gov. Nathan Deal announced last Wednesday, July 13, 2016, a partnership with South Carolina for an estimated $75 million project to replace existing Interstate 20 bridges over the Savannah River and the Augusta Canal and add lanes on I-20 to Exit 1 in South Carolina. The project will enhance safety and operations on both sides of the Savannah River.
“The Savannah River and the Augusta Canal have historically remained key sources for both water and transportation in the region,” said Deal. “This project is vital to ensure the bridges carrying people and freight to and from both states are safe, secure and efficient. We look forward to working with South Carolina to see this project through.”
The proposed replacement bridges will each provide three travel lanes in each direction, as well as a refuge area for vehicles. I-20 will be widened from four to six lanes from River Watch Parkway (Exit 200) in Georgia to West Martintown Road (Exit 1) in South Carolina, then transition back to four lanes on the South Carolina side of the Savannah River.
“The replacement of both bridges is critical to the safe movement of goods and people to and from both states,” said Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) Commissioner Russell R. McMurry. “Due to economic growth on both sides of the river, it is imperative that the bridge infrastructure meet modern demands, and so we are eager to work with South Carolina to move this project forward.”
Each day, more than 60,000 vehicles travel on I-20 in the area of the Georgia and South Carolina line. The two eastbound and two westbound bridges that currently go over the Augusta Canal and Savannah River are now more than 50 years old. After extensive evaluations of construction staging, hydraulic concerns and future maintenance costs, it was determined that replacement of the bridges would be the most beneficial long-term solution.
“We had identified this section of I-20 on South Carolina’s project priority list for interstate widening. The collaborative approach between Georgia and South Carolina will enable us to expedite the delivery of this much needed project for the citizens of the region,” said South Carolina Department of Transportation Secretary Christy A. Hall. “We greatly appreciate the opportunity to partner with GDOT and the FHWA to make the necessary improvements along the border.”
GDOT and the South Carolina Department of Transportation will pay a proportional share of preliminary engineering and construction costs. GDOT will procure the project through a design-build contract to expedite delivery. The project is slated to be put out to bid in fall 2018. Additional information will be available once a design build contractor is selected.