According to the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT), the Interstate 20 Savannah River Improvement Project is finally entering the final stage.
“Everybody’s ready to get to that final step,” said Kyle Collins with the Georgia Department of Transportation, GDOT.
The project has been ongoing for nearly four years.
Construction workers finished the final bridge deck pours on the eastbound side heading into South Carolina.
“The baby that’s finally starting to walk a little bit, and maybe the baby is going to start running in early 2024 when all the lanes are open,” said Collins.
GDOT said factors such as bad weather, the pandemic, and building over a major river caused delays.
“Obviously, with things that happened in that 2020 to 2021 timeframe that everybody across all sectors dealt with. That was felt out here, so that had something to do with it. We also had some challenges with the work that went on in the waterway. Also, building under traffic is a challenge. We made a commitment to do no detours and leave both lanes open in both directions so there were no major delays,” said Collins.
GDOT says the project will make the roads safer with new construction. Collins says most of these bridges were built in the 1960s.
“These are going to be brand new structures with very large inside and outside shoulders, so when there is a crash, not only do you have an extra lane, you have extra space to the inside and outside for our emergency responders to safely move that situation over,” said Collins.
A big traffic shift is still to come in the new year.
They’re calling this Phase 5 of the project. It will put traffic on two lanes of brand-new bridges on the eastbound side and continue two lanes on the westbound side. It will allow workers to fill in the medians of the bridge.
GDOT says that will happen in February or late March, and a few weeks after that, all lanes should be open.