Georgia, South Carolina Enter Partnership to Replace I-20 Bridges, Add Lanes
COLUMBIA, SC Georgia Governor Nathan Deal and South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley jointly announced a partnership to share costs of an estimated $75 million project to replace Interstate 20 bridges over the Savannah River and the Augusta Canal, and to widen a portion of I-20 around the border.
Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) Commissioner Russell McMurry and South Carolina Transportation Secretary Christy Hall joined their board members and legislators for a ceremonial signing of a joint resolution funding the project.
Currently four I-20 bridges - two eastbound and two westbound - cross the canal and river. Those twin two-lane structures are over 50 years old. The announcement said the replacement bridges will provide three travel lanes in each direction.
I-20 will also be widened from four to six lanes from Exit 200 in Georgia to Exit 1 in South Carolina, then transition back to four lanes on the South Carolina side.
"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."
McMurry said replacing the bridges "is critical to the safe movement of goods and people to and from both states. 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.
The announcement said that after extensive evaluations of construction staging, hydraulic concerns and future maintenance costs, officials determined replacing the bridges would be the most beneficial long-term option.
"We had identified this section of I-20 on South Carolina's project priority list for interstate widening," said Hall. "The collaborative approach between Georgia and South Carolina will enable us to expedite the delivery of this much needed project."
The plans call for GDOT and the South Carolina Department of Transportation to pay proportional shares of preliminary engineering and construction costs. GDOT will put the project out to bid in autumn 2018, under a design-build contract to expedite construction.