Georgia I-16/I-75 Improvement Project
 
 
Meeting I-16/I-75 Improvements - Local Group Meeeting Summary
Date February 27, 2002
Group Winship Hills, Northwoods, Riverview Neighborhoods
Attendees 20 participants
Mrs. Genetha Rice-Singleton - GDOT
Mrs. Angela Alexander - GDOT
Ms. Marlo Clowers - GDOT
Mr. David Acree - GDOT
Ms. Lisa Walker - GDOT
Mr. Andrew Aiello - GDOT
Mr. Josh Graegorzowski - GDOT
Mr. Brad Hale - MAAI
Mr. Todd Hill -MAAI
Ms. Taylor Wright - PBS&J
Mr. Ron Morris - PBS&J
Mr. Denny Meier - PBS&J
Ms. Wendy Cullens, - PBS&J

MEETING MINUTES

Introduction

Ms. Liz Sanford of Sycamore Consulting opened the meeting with an agenda and ground rules. Meeting participants were requested to hold any questions until after all presentations were complete. Ms. Sanford then introduced Mrs. Angela Alexander, Assistant State Urban Design Engineer for the Georgia Department of Transportation.

Overview of Projects

Mrs. Alexander thanked the group for taking the time to participate in this meeting and for allowing the Department the opportunity to come out and discuss the design and environmental work being done for improvements on I-75 and I-16. Mrs. Alexander explained that there are two separate projects to be discussed tonight, the I-16/I-75 Interchange Improvement Project and the I-75 widening from Pierce Avenue to Arkwright Road. Mrs. Alexander stated that while these are two separate projects, the design teams are working together to ensure a smooth convergence of the projects.

Mrs. Alexander gave a brief overview of each project, including a description of the public involvement methods used. Mrs. Alexander stated that both projects are fairly well along into the concept validation phase.

I-75 - Interchange Improvement Project

Mr. Brad Hale of Moreland Altobelli Associates discussed the I-16/I-75 Interchange Improvement Project. Mr. Hale reiterated that a Citizen Advisory Committee (CAC) was utilized during development of the preferred concept alternative. The CAC reviewed and evaluated seven alternatives in their evaluation screening process.

Mr. Hale stated that the improvements to the interchange will be substantial. The primary objective of the project is to improve the operational efficiency of the interchanges in the project corridor. Current problems include short weaving distances, limited sight distances, and minimal space between interchanges. Mr. Hale then described the proposed improvements outlined in the preferred concept alternative.

Following Mr. Haleís presentation, the following questions were asked:

Mr. Hale explained that this project is still in the concept validation stage and the purpose of this and other meetings is to provide information to the community and to get input on the concept.

I-75 - Pierce Avenue to Arkwright Road Project

Mr. Taylor Wright of PBS&J gave an overview of the improvements proposed by the I-75 widening project from Pierce Avenue to Arkwright Road. Mr. Wright stated that this project begins 1500 ft. south of Riverside Drive and that the profile of I-75 will have to be raised to lift it out of flood impact elevations and to provide vertical clearance at Red Oak Drive and Arkwright Road. Additionally, Mr. Wright pointed out locations for proposed noise abatement along the east side of I-75.

Mr. Wright also described the proposed improvements to Riverside Drive between Arkwright Road and Pierce Avenue.

Environmental Studies

Mr. Todd Hill of Moreland Altobelli Associates indicated that there were nine environmentally sensitive areas within the project boundaries and that the project team has worked to protect these areas and/or minimize any potential impacts. Mr. Hill also indicated that the entire project is within the floodplain of the Ocmulgee River. This is an issue that requires additional study and mitigation. Mr. Hill stated that the draft Environmental Assessment document is currently being reviewed by GDOT prior to submittal to FHWA.

Mr. Hill addressed concerns relating to noise impacts in the Winship Hills neighborhood. In general, residents stated that there are existing noise problems in the area. They voiced concerns that the noise study conducted for the I-16/I-75 Interchange Improvement project appeared to overlook existing problems. Mrs. Alexander indicated that the noise impact analysis procedure is based on very specific federal guidelines. Mr. Hill noted that GDOTís guidelines for determining noise impacts are stricter than FHWA guidelines. GDOT and Mr. Hill agreed to return to the neighborhood and take additional noise readings.

Mr. Lee Martin, a member of Caution Macon, stated that a new federal standard requires that sudden changes in noise levels, regardless of decibel level, have to be addressed. No one from either project team had any knowledge of the new standard. The possibility of FHWA using a different standard to determine nighttime noise impacts was also discussed.

Questions and Comments

Conclusion

Ms. Sanford indicated that the project team would be available to answer questions around the displays, and thanked everyone for their participation. Mrs. Alexander added that attendees would be placed on the project mailing list and would be notified of future public involvement opportunities through the project newsletter.