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Third Infantry Division Highway Corridor Study

Figure ES-1

Four initial study corridors were developed between Savannah and Knoxville. Corridor A represents the farthest west option, running along I-16 west out of Savannah, passing west of Augusta, passing east of Athens and Gainesville in Georgia, and following the western boundary of the National Forests to I-75 at Cleveland. An Eastern Corridor A option follows the same route as Corridor A in the southern portion, but follows SR 60 and SR 68 north from Dahlonega, GA to I-75 near Sweetwater, TN. Corridor B follows the Savannah River Parkway from Savannah, running west of the GA/SC state line, and following existing roadways through the National Forests and along the western boundary of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park to Knoxville. Corridor C follows the Savannah River Parkway from Savannah, follows new and existing alignments through South Carolina from Augusta to west of Greenville, SC, and cuts through the National Forests and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park on existing alignments. Corridor D runs northward on existing alignments from Savannah to Columbia, SC, following I-26 and US 25 north and west to Knoxville. In addition to the four primary routes, a series of small connectors form potential links between the larger corridors.

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Figure ES-2

There is a sequence of steps involved in the construction of complex highway projects.  Scoping involves a high-level look at area needs.  Planning considers alternatives and issues.  Programming results in the allocation of funding.  Preliminary engineering provides conceptual design and environmental analysis.  Final design prepares construction-ready plans.  Right of way acquires property.  Utilities involves the relocation of utility infrastructure.  And construction leads to completion of the project and the opening of the highway to traffic.

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Figure ES-3

Four initial study corridors were developed between Savannah and Knoxville. Corridor A represents the farthest west option, running along I-16 west out of Savannah, passing west of Augusta, passing east of Athens and Gainesville in Georgia, and following the western boundary of the National Forests to I-75 at Cleveland. An Eastern Corridor A option follows the same route as Corridor A in the southern portion, but follows SR 60 and SR 68 north from Dahlonega, GA to I-75 near Sweetwater, TN. Corridor B follows the Savannah River Parkway from Savannah, running west of the GA/SC state line, and following existing roadways through the National Forests and along the western boundary of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park to Knoxville. Corridor C follows the Savannah River Parkway from Savannah, follows new and existing alignments through South Carolina from Augusta to west of Greenville, SC, and cuts through the National Forests and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park on existing alignments. Corridor D runs northward on existing alignments from Savannah to Columbia, SC, following I-26 and US 25 north and west to Knoxville. In addition to the four primary routes, a series of small connectors form potential links between the larger corridors.

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Figure 1

Existing interstate facilities cordon the General Study Area for the project, which includes portions of Georgia, Tennessee, North Carolina, and South Carolina. On the east, the General Study Area runs northeast on I-95 from Savannah to I-26; northwest on I-26 through Columbia and Asheville to I-40; then west on I-40 to Knoxville. On the west, the General Study area runs northwest on I-516 to I-16 from Savannah to I-75 in Macon to Atlanta and north on I-75 to Knoxville. Major cities in the General Study Area include Savannah, GA; Augusta, GA; Atlanta, GA; Columbia, SC; Greenville, SC; Asheville, NC; Chattanooga, TN; and Knoxville, TN. The northern portion of the General Study Area contains large areas of National Forest lands and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

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Figure 2

Four distinct control points were identified within the General Study Area. In Savannah, the control point is along I-516 north of I-16. In Augusta, the control point follows I-520 around the southern loop of the city and extends west along I-20 to US 78, approximately 30 miles west of the Augusta. At Lavonia, the control point extends for 65 miles along I-85 from west of Greenville, SC to Commerce, GA. In Knoxville, the control point covers the southern portion of the city, from I-75 at Loudon, south to include Maryville, and east to I-40 at Strawberry Plains Pike.

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Figure 3

Four initial study corridors were developed between Savannah and Knoxville. Corridor A represents the farthest west option, running along I-16 west out of Savannah, passing west of Augusta, passing east of Athens and Gainesville in Georgia, and following the western boundary of the National Forests to I-75 at Cleveland. An Eastern Corridor A option follows the same route as Corridor A in the southern portion, but follows SR 60 and SR 68 north from Dahlonega, GA to I-75 near Sweetwater, TN. Corridor B follows the Savannah River Parkway from Savannah, running west of the GA/SC state line, and following existing roadways through the National Forests and along the western boundary of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park to Knoxville. Corridor C follows the Savannah River Parkway from Savannah, follows new and existing alignments through South Carolina from Augusta to west of Greenville, SC, and cuts through the National Forests and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park on existing alignments. Corridor D runs northward on existing alignments from Savannah to Columbia, SC, following I-26 and US 25 north and west to Knoxville. In addition to the four primary routes, a series of small connectors form potential links between the larger corridors.

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Figure 4

A number of protected lands exist in the General Study Area between Savannah and Lavonia. The largest features include Fort Stewart (Army base west of Savannah), Fort Gordon (Army base southwest of Augusta), the Savannah River Plant (Department of Energy nuclear facility southeast of Augusta), Sumter National Forest (north of Augusta), and Oconee National Forest (between Macon and Athens). Large lakes and other smaller parks, forests, and wildlife preserves exist in the area, but at a significantly lower density that the northern portion of the study area.

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Figure 5

A high density of protected lands exist in the General Study Area between Lavonia and Knoxville. The largest features include Great Smoky Mountains National Park along the TN/NC border, Cherokee National Forest in eastern TN, Nantahala and Pisgah National Forests in western NC, Chattahoochee National Forest in north GA, and Sumter National Forest in western SC. Within the National Forests, a multitude of federally designated Wilderness Areas, state designated wildlife conservation areas, and lakes/rivers further constrain development. Corridors B and C pass through the area with the highest density of protected lands.

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Figure 6

The typical cross section for an Interstate on new alignment provides two 12-foot driving lanes, 10-foot paved inner shoulders, and 12-foot paved outer shoulders for each direction of travel, divided by a 64-foot wide depressed median. A typical cross section for an elevated portion of roadway in the Special Interstate Design Level raises each travel direction onto an independent viaduct structure to reduce environmental impacts at ground level. Each structure would carry two 12-foot travel lanes and 12-foot wide shoulders.

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Figure 9

Corridor A West was divided into sixteen sections for costing purposes, divided at control points, urban areas, and where the corridor transitions between existing highways. Costs are provided for each design level for each of the sixteen sections.

  1. Along I-16 from Savannah to US 25, the route follows existing Interstate and meets the criteria for each design level.
  2. Along US 25 from I-16 to Millen, $247 million is estimated to upgrade the existing arterial to an Interstate.
  3. Along US 25 from Millen to Waynesboro, $254 million is estimated to upgrade the existing arterial to an Interstate.
  4. To create 35 miles of new alignment from Waynesboro to I-20, cost estimates range from $264 million (minimal build scenario) to $727 million (Interstate level).
  5. Along US 78 from I-20 to Washington, $141 million is estimated to upgrade the planned arterial to an Interstate.
  6. Along US 78 from Washington to Athens, cost estimates range from $62 million (Super-2) to $375 million (Interstate level) to upgrade the existing two lane highway.
  7. Along US 441 from Athens to I-85, cost estimates range from $16 million (Arterial level) to $260 million (Interstate level) to upgrade the existing highway.
  8. Along US 441 from I-85 to Homer, $139 million is estimated to upgrade the existing arterial to an Interstate.
  9. To create 31 miles of new alignment from Homer to Dahlonega, cost estimates range from $300 million (minimal build scenario) to $818 million (Interstate level).
  10. Along SR 52 from Dahlonega to Ellijay, cost estimates range from $122 million (Super-2) to $861 million (Interstate level) to upgrade the existing two lane highway.
  11. Along US 76 from Ellijay to Chatsworth, cost estimates range from $37 million (Super-2) to $207 million (Interstate level) to upgrade the existing highway.
  12. Along US 411 from Chatsworth to the TN/GA state line, cost estimates range from $28 million (Super-2) to $287 million (Interstate level) to upgrade the existing highway.
  13. Along US 411 from the TN/GA state line to US 64, cost estimates range from $94 million (Super-2) to $170 million (Interstate level) to upgrade the existing two lane highway.
  14. To create 12 miles of new alignment from US 64 to US 11, cost estimates range from $137 million (minimal build scenario) to $261 million (Interstate level).
  15. Along SR 308 at Charleston, TN, cost estimates range from $50 million (Super-2) to $98 million (Interstate level) to upgrade the existing two lane highway.
  16. Along I-75 from Charleston to Knoxville, the route follows existing Interstate and meets the criteria for each design level.

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Figure 12

The Georgia Department of Transportation Project Development process is a complex process involving dozens of steps to complete planning activities, secure funding, analyze data, design geometric layouts, identify environmental resources and impacts, coordinate with agencies and stakeholders, understand and account for specific project elements (drainage, traffic, lighting, hydraulics, utilities, etc), and finally advance to construction.

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Figure 13

The Tennessee Department of Transportation Project Development process is a complex process involving dozens of steps to complete planning activities, secure funding, analyze data, design geometric layouts, identify environmental resources and imapcts, coordinate with agencies and stakeholders, understand and account for specific project elements (drainage, traffic, lighting, hydraulics, utilities, etc), and finally advance to construction.

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Figure 14

Four corridors were suggested for consideration by members of the public through June 15, 2011.

  1. A route through South Carolina, parallel to the Savannah River, between I-95 at Savannah and I-85 at Greenville
  2. A route northwest from I-85 at Lavonia to I-75 at Cleveland, passing through northern Georgia towns of Cleveland, Blairsville, and McKaysville
  3. A route northwest from Augusta to I-75 at Dalton, similar to corridor A West
  4. A route from Savannah to Augusta to Greenville, then following I-40 to Knoxville

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Updated: 03/22/2013
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