AUGUSTA, GA. (WFXG) - Preliminary work to expand I-20 at the Savannah River and Augusta Canal bridges has been years in the making.
“We don’t just plan for next month or next year. We’re looking 10, 20, 30, 40 years down the road. So, this is a great example of that and also the collaboration and commitment with our partners across the water with South Carolina DOT," said Georgia Department of Transportation District Communications Specialist Kyle Collins.
The early engineering work that comes before major construction kicks off Tuesday night.
“A subcontractor is coming in to do material geotechnical samples in various locations - both on the South Carolina and Georgia side there over the water - to determine the design of the replacement bridge foundation,” Collins explained.
The nearly $100 million project will replace the existing bridges that were built in the 1960s. They currently have two travel lanes and two-foot shoulders separated by an open median. In a few years, there will be three lanes in each direction.
“So, widening from this area, which is roughly from the Georgia Welcome Center through to exit one in South Carolina. You’re gonna have 12-foot inside and outside shoulders, which currently kinda shrinks down in the areas of the bridges where there’s really not any shoulders.”
The actual groundbreaking is scheduled to start later this year, construction in 2020 and anticipated completion is by January 2022.
Collins said it’s for safety, traffic alleviation and better emergency response.
“You think about it, between 65,000 and 70,000 cars on average travel this area on just a typical day and I’m sure that’s going to continue to go up the next 5, 10, 15 years," explained Collins.
For the next few weeks, speed limits will be reduced to 45 miles per hour over the bridges. GDOT wants drivers to plan for the lane shifts and prepare to slow down.
The project is jointly funded by Georgia and South Carolina Department of Transportation.
Exact anticipated work schedule pending weather:
-Signage will begin near Exit 200 (River Watch Parkway)
-Lane closures will begin at the Canal bridge and will continue to West Martintown Road in SC (Exit 1)
-Signage will begin near Mile Marker 2 in SC
-Lane closures will begin at West Martintown Road (Exit 1) and continue to the exit to the Georgia Visitors Center.
In both eastbound and westbound directions, the lane closures will be for the inside lanes only. Speed limits will be reduced to 45 mph over the bridges.
Working dates include January 22nd - February 1st And again February 5 – February 9th. The hours we are allowed to work are as follows:
Monday 9PM – Tuesday 7AM
Tuesday 9PM – Wednesday 7AM
Wednesday 9PM – Thursday 7AM
Thursday 10PM – Friday 7AM
Friday 10 PM – Saturday 8AM
Saturday 10PM – Sunday 9 AM
Sunday 9PM – Monday 7AM
Monday 8PM – Tuesday 6AM
Tuesday 8PM – Wednesday 6AM
Wednesday 8PM – Thursday 6AM
Thursday 9PM – Friday 6AM
Friday 10 PM – Saturday 8AM
Saturday 8PM – Sunday 10 AM
Sunday 9PM – Monday 6AM