Chatham County Interstate Needs Analysis & Prioritization Plan
The Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT), in partnership with the Chatham Urban Transportation Study (CUTS) and various stakeholders, has conducted a study of Chatham County’s existing Interstate transportation network and developed a list of proposed improvements. This study considered congestion, the impact of development, truck and freight traffic, port access, and the impacts any proposed alternatives would have on the historic, community, and natural resources in Chatham County.
Where Was The Study Area?
The study area for this project was completely contained within Chatham County on the southeast coast of Georgia. The study was limited to the areas in the county near the existing interstate facilities. It did not include the coastal areas on the eastern edge of the county. A map of the study area is provided below:
Study Area Map
Why Was This Study Needed?
Growth in Chatham County and the increase in freight volumes passing through Georgia ports are placing ever more strain on the existing Interstate system. Travel along the I-95 corridor is experiencing strains from growth all along the east coast. Chatham County is a major transfer hub between east-west and north-south Interstate routes. I-16 is expected to draw ever-increasing traffic volumes.
The study team has completed the preparation of the Baseline Conditions and Needs Assessment Report as well as the development and refinement of potential improvements for identified needs areas. These activities included a detailed inventory of existing conditions, an analysis of estimated future conditions to identify needed areas of improvement within and near the Chatham Interstate network, and an assessment of a preliminary list of needs areas to identify which are more critical in meeting mobility needs of the Chatham Interstate highway network. This phase of the study included the following activities:
- Completed Detailed Freight Analysis
Chatham County’s interstate highways are an essential part of the statewide infrastructure for freight movements. About 80 percent of the containers from the Savannah Port leave on trucks. Most of these trucks use the Interstate highways for part of their trip.
To better understand freight traffic in Chatham County, the study team conducted a survey of over 100 freight hauling companies. The team also conducted a series of interviews with key stakeholders, such as the Georgia Ports Authority. In addition, the team used mapping software to pinpoint the locations of all the freight haulers and warehouse centers throughout the County.
Truck Study Technical Memorandum
- Updated Traffic Model
In 2004, the Savannah Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) created the CUTS (Chatham Urban Transportation Study) model. It is a sophisticated computer model that helps predict future areas of traffic congestion. The model takes into account the network of roads and highways, existing levels of traffic congestion, existing and predicted levels of population and employment within Chatham County as well as in neighboring counties, and freight activity.
The study team updated future (2030) model by revising the population and employment projections, incorporating the findings from the freight analysis, and updating the planned roadway network to include recently funded projects. Click here for detailed model volume information.
Prepared Baseline Conditions and Needs Assessment Report
This report compiled the current, or baseline, conditions and identified areas of the Chatham Interstate network that are likely to need improvement. This included gathering and analyzing output from the traffic model, analyzing crash data, evaluating existing system design compared to current GDOT design standards, gathering community input and conducting stakeholder interviews, assessing bridge sufficiency ratings, and conducting the off-model freight analysis. Together these inputs were compared against the project performance measures to identify transportation needs within Chatham County. Click here for Baseline Conditions and Needs Assessment Report.
Needs Areas Identified for Further Analysis
Based on the overall goals of the study, 12 locations were selected for more detailed analysis. Potential solutions to resolve Interstate System transportation needs at these locations have been developed in conceptual form and were presented at the April 2008 public meetings.
Environmental Screening An environmental screening has been completed for each of the 12 needs areas identified for further analysis. This environmental screening was performed to identify natural, historic, or community constraints that could serve to preclude the construction of transportation facilities within the needs area.
Please click here to read the Historic Resources Screening Report for the 12 needs areas identified for further analysis.
Preparation of Conceptual Layouts and Fatal Flaw Analysis
Conceptual layouts for the solutions to fulfill the transportation needs identified in the 12 areas have been developed and analyzed for fatal flaws that would render them impossible due to engineering and/or environmental constraints.
Conceptual Cost Estimates
Conceptual construction and right-of-way cost estimates have been developed for all of the proposed improvements within the 12 needs areas. Cost Estimates Technical Memo.
The study has been a cooperative effort between GDOT, Chatham Urban Transportation Study, Chatham County, the City of Savannah, the Georgia Ports Authority, and several other municipalities within the County. All of these stakeholders have been involved in the process through a series of meetings on technical and policy issues and outreach to the general public.
Savannah MPO coordination / Presentations
The project was initiated in January 2006 and completed in summer of 2008.
How Have People Been Involved?
This project web page on the GDOT website detailed all meetings and milestones. Public and stakeholder meetings took place at key milestones throughout the study. A final public meeting was held in April 2008. Click the links below for more details on public involvement:
Who Can I Contact With Suggestions And Questions?
Georgia Department of Transportation
Office of Planning
One Georgia Center
600 West Peachtree Street, N.W.
Floor: 5, Location: 538
Atlanta, GA 30308
6067 Roosevelt Highway
Union City, GA 30291