The Georgia Department of Transportation (Georgia DOT) expects the first new turbine bridge ramp that will carry I-16 westbound traffic to I-95 southbound, to open on Thursday, March 23, 2023. The ramp replaces the existing cloverleaf, loop ramp on the west side of I-95 with a first of its kind for Georgia “partial turbine” configuration ramp to provide smoother, more direct connections through this busy corridor.
With the new configuration, motorists traveling along I-16 westbound to I-95 northbound and southbound will use a common exit located before the I-95 interchange. This exit ramp later splits at a decision point to continue onto I-95 northbound (right) or southbound (left).
The partial turbine bridge ramps will open overnight when traffic volumes are typically lowest. At the time of the new turbine bridge ramp opening, new signage will be unveiled, and traffic control measures will be installed to close the current cloverleaf, loop ramp. Traffic pacing will occur based on traffic volumes. Message boards will be set up 7 days in advance to notify the traveling public of the new traffic pattern.
“The opening of the new turbine bridge ramps is a significant milestone for the traveling public as well as the project team, and we’re eager to get the new configuration opened and allow motorists to see the benefits of the new bridges,” said Ron Nelson, Georgia DOT project manager for the 16@95 Improvement Projects. “We’re grateful for the opportunity to bring these improvements to the interchange and look forward to sharing other elements of the project as they’re completed.”
A full-turbine interchange, also known as a whirlpool interchange, has two or three levels with ramps forming a spiral around the interchange’s center. Two of the four existing cloverleafs will convert into turbine bridges at this major interchange thus the “partial-turbine” name.
The second new turbine bridge ramp, which will carry I-95 southbound traffic to I-16 eastbound is anticipated to open in Q2 2023.
The 16@95 Improvement Projects will improve traffic flow and enhance safety along I-16 and I-95, one of Georgia’s busiest freight corridors as well as the gateway to Georgia’s growing port in Savannah, by reconstructing the I-16/I-95 Interchange and widening I-16 to relieve congestion. Improvements will support 100,000 projected daily vehicles in metro Savannah by 2030, alleviating more than 30 percent of delays on I-16 from I-516 to I-95 and providing enhanced first responder mobility.
“We talk a lot about the tremendous growth at the Georgia Ports and of course, this project is part of the needed roadway improvements to support the movement of freight and increased safety for both commercial and passenger vehicles,” said Georgia DOT Commissioner Russell McMurry, P.E. “Through partnerships with local officials, the Georgia Ports Authority and cooperation from the traveling public we’re working to improve this critical interchange and mobility for the Savannah area.”
Other work to be completed at the I-16/I-95 Interchange includes improvements to the remaining loop ramps as well as the addition of a new bridge, barrier-separated, collector-distributor (CD) lane, also known as a connecting lane, and improved lighting throughout the interchange.