I-16/I-75 Improvement Project
Advisory Committee Meeting Summary
June 14, 2005
Sandra Bush, Resident
Lynn Cass, Macon Bibb County Transit
Sid Cherry, Downtown Council
Eugene Dunwody, Sr., Dunwoody/Beeland
Mike Ford, Newtown Macon
Jim David, Ocmulgee Nat’l Monument
Daniel Fischer, Caution Macon
Brian McDavid, Shirley Hills
Chip Cherry, Chamber of Commerce
Steve Massey, Norfolk Southern Railroad
Glenn Bowman, GDOT
Marlo Clowers, GDOT
Theresa Holder, GDOT
Mary Mitchell, GDOT
David Painter, FHWA
Brad Hale, MAAI
Pat Smeeton, MAAI
Will Sheehan, MAAI
Bill Rabold, MAAI
Chris Kingsbury, MAAI
Tim Heilmeier, HNTB
Liz Sanford, Sycamore Consulting
Leah Vaughan, Sycamore Consulting
1) Estimate the number of properties that would be adversely impacted by the Holliday alternative.
2) Consider eliminating the “flyover” ramp (westbound CD to I-75 SB).
3) Consider modifying or eliminating the Spring St. interchange.
4) Consider leaving left-hand ingress/egress on I-75 SB (within the I-16/I-75 interchange).
5) Consider aesthetically pleasing structures.
Mr. Hale began with a discussion of the Holliday Alternative. A display was provided that showed an estimated right-of-way corridor for this alternative. One of the action items from the previous meeting requested that the design team quantify the property impacts from the Holliday Alternative. The Holliday Alternative involved rerouting I-16 along the proposed path of the Eisenhower Parkway Extension; therefore, relocating the I-16 / I-75 interchange south along I-75 to the current site of the I-75 / Eisenhower Parkway interchange. Mr. Hale explained that at least 122 buildings would be impacted, including 48 dual-occupancy structures within the Murphy Homes development. Mr. Hale elaborated that this number - 122 buildings - was arrived upon by placing a 300’ right-of-way corridor along the existing Eisenhower Parkway. Three hundred feet is the width of the existing right-of-way corridor along I-16. Mr. Hale added that the 122 impacts was a conservative estimate and that there would likely be more impacts. It was also noted that this alternative would have a negative impact to the local traffic network, as it would bisect the area by cutting off many of the streets currently crossing the Eisenhower Parkway. Several of the busier cross streets would have to be reconstructed as overpasses or underpasses. In addition to the impacts to properties and the local traffic network, the Holliday Alternative would increase traffic on I-75 between the existing Eisenhower Pkwy and I-16 interchanges. Mr. Hale noted that this stretch of I-75 would have to be widened to accommodate the additional traffic, requiring the reconstruction of several bridges and causing impacts to Pleasant Hill similar to those currently planned under Alternative #9. Based on these findings, Mr. Hale stated that the Holliday Alternative has been eliminated from further consideration. (Following the meeting, Mr. Holliday noted that his plan intended for the interstate to be depressed below the local street level with no impacts to either property or the local traffic network. He also noted that he had envisioned a multi-level roundabout for the new I-16/I-75 interchange, again with no additional R/W required.)
At this point, several of the Advisory Committee members stated their concerns. Ms. Betty Lou Browne pointed out that the Holliday Alternative was popular with the locals because it moved I-16 away from downtown Macon, allowing the area along the riverfront to be further developed into an attractive gateway park. Mr. Daniel Fischer asked if the property impacts from the Holliday Alternative were more or less than those planned under the Eisenhower Extension Project. The design team answered that they could not say for sure, but the impacts from the Holliday Alternative would likely be much greater than those of the Eisenhower Extension Project.
The design team developed Alternative #10 in an attempt to address the Advisory Committee’s concerns from the previous meeting. A large-scale display was provided that depicted a schematic of this alternative on aerial photography. Handouts were also provided to each of the Advisory Committee members. Mr. Hale gave a detailed presentation, in which he described the key features with this alternative and the results of the project teams’ traffic analysis. The following are the primary discussion points from this presentation:
· One of the project team’s objectives with ALT 10 was to shift some, but not all, traffic from the Spring Street interchange to the Second Street interchange. This was accomplished by making the following changes:
- Provide access from Second Street directly to I-16 WB.
- Remove the ‘flyover ramp’ (WB CD to I-75 SB)
- Remove the ramp from I-75 NB to Spring Street.
The above changes would have the following affect on the project:
- Access to and from Spring Street would be limited to I-75 north of the I-16/I-75 interchange.
- Southbound traffic on Gray Hwy destined for I-75 SB would need to take Second Street.
- Traffic on I-75 NB destined for Gray Hwy would also be routed through Second Street.
- Increased traffic flow on Second Street would probably require Second Street to be widened, and the intersections at Gray Highway and Emery Highway re-configured.
- The WB CD would no longer need to be elevated above the mainline.
- The overall project footprint along I-16 between the I-16/I-75 interchange and Spring Street would be reduced.
· Another goal with ALT 10 was to minimize impacts to the Pleasant Hill District. The Advisory Committee had requested that the left-hand ingress and egress on I-75 SB not be revised as proposed with ALT 9 for this reason. The left-hand vs. right-hand exit issue, however, is not the primary reason why Alternative 9 impacted Pleasant Hill.
The proximity of the Hardeman Ave. interchange to the I-16/I-75 interchange coupled with the high traffic volumes on the I-75 mainline creates a complex and unsafe weaving movement. ALT 9 corrected this problem by shifting the I-75 NB / I-16 EB split approximately ¾ mile south and re-configuring the entrance ramp from Hardeman Avenue to I-75 NB to span over the new I-16 EB exit ramp. This configuration, commonly referred to as a ‘braided ramp’ design, requires the displacement of 10 properties within Pleasant Hill along Middle Street.
With ALT 10, the design team removed the braided ramp described above and left the existing configuration of I-75 NB between Hardeman Avenue and I-16 alone. The proposed right-hand ingress/egress modification on I-75 SB, however, was retained with ALT 10. This eliminates all but one of the impacted properties in Pleasant Hill, and maintains continuity on the interstate mainline.
· The design team’s traffic analysis for ALT 10 yielded the following results:
- An unacceptable weaving movement (level of service ‘F’) occurs on I-16 WB between I-75 and Second Street.
- The traffic model projected an acceptable weaving movement (level of service ‘C’) on I-16 EB between I-75 and Second Street. However, due to the number of lanes required and poor system-level continuity (all traffic from I-75 SB continuing on I-16 EB must shift over one or more lanes), this configuration is considered undesirable for traffic flow.
- An unacceptable weaving movement (level of service ‘F’) occurs on I-75 NB between Hardeman Ave. and I-16.
· Mr. Hale noted that the following conclusions were made following the design team’s analysis of alternative #10:
- There is insufficient distance on I-16 between Second Street and I-75 to safely provide ingress/egress without separating service level from system level movements via CD roads.
- There is insufficient distance on I-75 between Hardeman Avenue and I-16 to safely provide ingress/egress without either braided ramps or a CD system.
- The design team recommends that ALT 10 be eliminated from further consideration.
Design Year Traffic
Mr. Hale ended his presentation by mentioning that the design year traffic had been updated from 2025 to 2032 to reflect the updated interchange opening date. Previously, it had been anticipated that the interchange would be open to traffic in 2005 requiring the traffic to be forecasted to 2025; however, the anticipated completion date has been pushed back to 2012 requiring the traffic to be forecasted to 2032.
Preferred Concept Alternative
Following Mr. Hale’s presentation, Mr. Ben Buchan announced that GDOT was planning on moving forward with Alternative #9 through the next phase of the project – the NEPA approval process. GDOT has a responsibility to move the project forward due to the high accident rates and projected future traffic volumes. He stated that the public involvement process would continue and the Department is committed to mitigating project impacts and providing a context sensitive design. The next step would be to schedule meetings with individual neighborhood groups as well as a Public Information Open House and Public Hearing.
Next, Mr. Chris Kingsbury of Moreland Altobelli spoke on the subject of mitigation in the form of landscaping and aesthetics. He showed slides of mitigation examples from other projects including various aesthetic treatments for walls, noise barriers, bridges, and landscaping. He also mentioned the possibility of creating a landscaped park area out of the impacted properties in Pleasant Hill. He stated that the public’s input would be instrumental in determining exactly what sort of aesthetic mitigation was incorporated into the project.
Advisory Committee Comments
Mr. Buchan concluded the meeting by explaining the project team’s next steps in the design process. Meetings will be conducted with individual neighborhood groups this summer. A Public Information Open-House (PIOH) meeting will probably be held this fall. The environmental document should be completed in one year. A separate PIOH may be held for the Eisenhower parkway Extension project sometime between Fall 2005 and Spring 2006.
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