I-16/I-75 Improvement Project
Advisory Committee Meeting Summary
Centreplex
September 28, 2000
4:00-6:00p.m.

Advisory Committee Participants:
Elaine Bolton, Macon Heritage
Sandra Bush, Resident
Sid Cherry, Downtown Council
Jim David, Ocmulgee Nat'l Monument
Eugene Dunwody, Sr.
Richard Enesley, Pleasant Hills Community
Daniel Fischer, Caution Macon
Conie Mac Darnell, Newtown Macon
Johnny Wingers, Bibb Co. EMA

Project Team Participants:
Joseph Palladi, GDOT
Angela Alexander, GDOT
Rebecca Gifford, GDOT
Genetha Rice-Singleton, GDOT
Brad Hale, MAAI
Patrick Smeeton, MAAI
Kandace Lewis, MAAI
Liz Sanford, Sycamore Consulting
Denise Watts, Sycamore Consulting

Discussion Summary

A recap of the previous Advisory Committee meeting, noting that the committee had unanimously selected Alternative # 7 as the preferred design concept to move forward for further study.  At the last meeting, the committee also requested that some additional maps and graphics be provided to help illustrate this concept more effectively to the public.  The parking lot issues from the last meeting were briefly discussed.  These included: signage, landscaping, lighting, noise barriers, pedestrian facilities and aesthetics of the project. These issues would be addressed during forthcoming engineering design tasks.

Selected Design Concept

The committee reviewed specific features of the selected concept using detailed aerial maps and sectional drawings, which included:

  • I-75 north of the I-16/I-75 interchange would be four lanes in each direction
  • The I-16/I-75 interchange itself would have a similar configuration to what it is today, additional ramps will accommodate the collector-distributor (CD) roads necessary along I-16
  • Computer enhanced photographs provided illustrated appearance of proposed ramp Westbound CD to Southbound I-75
  • The southern portion of I-75 would remain four lanes in each direction as it is today
The Walnut street and Riverside Drive Bridges over I-75 would not have to be reconstructed with this concept.  Due to the addition of CD roads along I-16, six bridges are proposed to replace the two bridges currently crossing the Ocmulgee River at the beginning of I-16.

Four lanes are proposed for both EB and WB I-16/I-75 between Spring Street and the I-16/I-75 interchange.  This would be reduced to three lanes East of Spring Street.  CD roads are proposed along I-16 between the I-16/I-75 interchange and Spring Street, and between Second Street and Coliseum Drive.  The railroad bridge would not be disturbed by this concept.  The Otis Redding Bridge (M.L.K.) over the Ocmulgee River will be widened and reconstructed to accommodate future traffic and to clear the 100-year flood of the Ocmulgee River.

The proposed bridge will include extra-wide (10 foot) sidewalks on both sides and "street-scaping" features such as alcoves with benches and/ or landscape planters.

Discussion

A discussion about creating a pedestrian environment around the Centreplex by providing limited access to the River, and linking the facility to downtown Macon.

Potential impacts to the Greenway project and the Shirley Hills community were discussed briefly.  The impact to Shirley Hills would be negligible except for the CD flyover from I-16 to I-75 south.  A retaining wall would be constructed to minimize the footprint of the proposed CD road.

The necessity for sound walls was discussed.  GDOT’s policy is to use 69 decibels as the threshold for construction of a noise wall.  Federal policy is to construct a noise mitigation barrier when there is an increase of 3 decibels or an overall threshold of 70 decibels.  A noise study will be conducted to determine the need for noise barriers along the project area.

The construction of berms and the impact on the floodplain were discussed. There was concern that berms would cause flooding upstream.  A hydraulic study will be prepared and will need to be approved by the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers.  The group was informed that a previous hydraulic study showed that the flooding problem begins at a railroad bridge, which spans the river east of the study area for this project.

Construction of the proposed improvements would begin in 2003 and last for at least three years.  The construction phase will be divided into four projects including I-75 north of the interchange, I-75 south of the interchange, I-16 and the Martin Luther King (MLK) Boulevard interchange. The MLK segment will be accelerated as per the request of the City of Macon.

Public input regarding the design of the new bridges, lighting concerns and project schedule were briefly discussed.

Public Information Meeting

The next public information meeting is scheduled for October 24th, 4:00-7:00 pm at the Centreplex.  The group discussed information and diagrams to be displayed at this meeting.  As part of this discussion, MAAI demonstrated a TRAF-CORSIM model to illustrate projected traffic flow with the proposed improvements.  This animated model showed AM and PM peak traffic through 2025.  The model is used to analyze the CD system, ramps and potential problem areas including accidents.

The committee agreed that this demonstration would be very beneficial at the public meeting because it is easier to conceptualize the actual traffic improvement;; if additional computer enhanced photographs could be available at the public meeting to make it easier for the general public to understand the concepts.  MAAI would also model the interchange without improvements and have this comparative information available for the public meeting.

There was also discussion of possible cross-sectional drawings that would provide the public with representative design concepts including the view from Second Street, Shirley Hills, the south side of river and Spring Street.  DOT staff offered support to assist MAAI with preparing these displays.

The committee unanimously agreed that the displays and concepts discussed at this meeting would be presented at the public meeting on October 24th.  In addition, copies of the recent newsletter will be available.  Newsletters will also be available at the three information kiosk locations.

In closing, Newton Macon thanked GDOT for the team's presentation at the recent Commission on Macon-Atlanta Rail (COMAR) meeting stating that the information from the railroad study was very beneficial.

The meeting was adjourned with a reminder for everyone to attend the public information meeting on October 24th.




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