Office of Planning, Environment, & Realty (HEP)
A new or improved corridor between Savannah, Augusta, and Knoxville has not been identified in any State DOT or MPO long-range plan. All State DOTs and MPOs have established intensive long-range transportation processes; these processes assess current and future needs for different transportation modes and prioritize these needs in light of financial constraints. Extensive public involvement techniques are employed to engage citizens in defining policies and projects which will shape the statewide transportation network over the next 20-30 year planning horizon.
A new highway corridor from Savannah to Knoxville would result in significant costs, both financial and environmental. Construction of a new highway or Interstate route between Savannah, Augusta, and Knoxville is estimated to cost $560 million to $5.9 billion, depending on the route selected and design level. Signing an existing route would cost significantly less. The Southern Appalachian region contains a dense mixture of small mountain communities, sensitive environmental resources, and federally managed lands.
Analysis suggests corridors located farther west face fewer environmental and terrain challenges than corridors located in the center or eastern portions of the Study Area. However, significant resources impacts are likely to result from any alternative.
The majority of public comments expressed opposition to this corridor concept and to other new highways proposed in the region. Members of the public and the EWG have repeatedly expressed concern that there is no purpose for the 3rd Infantry Division highway corridor between Savannah, Augusta, and Knoxville. Limited support for the corridor concept is built upon improved economic development and safety.