The 3rd Infantry Division Highway study was conducted by a consultant team for the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and was submitted to Congress as required by Section 1927 of the federal transportation authorization legislation known as SAFETEA-LU. This study is one of two companion studies authorized by SAFETEA-LU legislation. The studies focused on highway corridors originating in Georgia, and include the 14th Amendment Highway and the 3rd Infantry Division Highway.
The 3rd Infantry Division Highway is proposed to extend from Savannah, Georgia to Knoxville, Tennessee, via Augusta, Georgia, and was conducted in two phases.
Phase I (completed) was a Conceptual Feasibility Report to identify potential alignments that connect designated urban areas, develop cost estimates for various design levels, and recommend implementation steps.
Phase II (optional-not completed) included specific sub-studies to explore a wider range of issues related to potential alternative alignments for use in a long-range planning study and subsequent NEPA studies.
The Conceptual Feasibility Report developed during Phase I was used to inform Congress of the steps that would be necessary to move the project forward and provided a planning-level estimate of what it would cost to construct. Sub-studies could be conducted in Phase II as directed by FHWA that would look at safety, environmental, social, economic, and other impacts.
Initial project work in Phase I from July through September focused on data collection, initial outreach activities, and definition of project control points in each of the urban areas identified in the legislation. Preliminary engineering considerations began toward the end of 2010, to be followed by cost estimation work and recommendations for further planning studies in the winter and spring of 2011. Phase I will be completed in June 2011.
For the Conceptual Feasibility Report there was no original data collection activities. Existing data sources and reports were compiled, organized and analyzed. No preferred alignment for the corridor has been or will be established. The 3rd Infantry Division Highway Corridor has not been designated as a future interstate, and there is currently no funding identified beyond Phase II to support long-range planning, environmental review or construction. These activities must be initiated at the state or regional level.
All work was reviewed and discussed by an Expert Working Group (EWG). The EWG consists of nine members drawn from the three affected states (Georgia, North Carolina, and Tennessee) Departments of Transportation (DOTs) and the Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs) or their designees for the identified urban areas (Savannah, Augusta, and Knoxville). Additional representation was drawn from involved federal agencies as well as WaysSouth, an advocacy group. The EWG met four times during the course of the study in Atlanta. Additional public information and outreach included content on the FHWA website. In addition, if Phase II is initiated the study team will explore other methods for broader public involvement.