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Northwest Corridor Project

In 2007, the Federal Highway Administration and Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT), in cooperation with other state and federal agencies, proposed to expand I-75 and I-575 in the Atlanta metropolitan area’s Northwest Corridor to alleviate traffic congestion in one of the region’s most congested thoroughfares.

The most expensive highway project in Georgia’s history at nearly $1 billion, the Northwest Corridor project will add nearly 30 miles of reversible lanes along I-75 I-575 through Cobb and Cherokee counties when it is completed in 2018.

The initial design plan proposed expanding sections of I-75 and I-575 from six to ten lanes by adding four general-purpose lanes, but community members – using the NEPA review process to express their environmental, public health, and economic concerns about the project – pushed the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) to make improvements to the plan.

Instead of adding new lanes, GDOT’s final designed plan called for the conversion of the existing medians and road space on I-75 into reversible HOV traffic lanes. This simple change minimized adverse effects on low-income and minority communities by reducing the number of residences and businesses displaced by the project from over 300 to 18.

The modification also significantly reduced the project’s impact on the nearby wetlands that are home to an endangered species from 4.2 to 0.3. To top it all off, the project modifications will save a significant amount of money.

While any project of this magnitude will inevitably affect the surrounding environment, thanks to NEPA, the Northwest Corridor Project has fewer impacts on local homes, businesses, and the environment, and is more cost-effective than the original plan.

Construction on the Northwest Corridor Express Lanes broke ground in October 2014 and the project is anticipated to open to traffic in summer of 2018.

 

[1] “Final Environmental Impact Statement Reevalution: Northwest Corridor Project.” Federal Highway Administration and Georgia Department of Transportation. October 2011. Available at:
http://nwcproject.com/media/pdfs/REEVAL/FEISReeval13.pdf

[2] “Public Comments Regarding Executive Summary: Northwest Corridor Project.” Georgia Department of Transportation. May 24, 2013. Available at:
http://nwcproject.com/media/pdfs/NWCP_PubCmts_ExSmry.pdf

[3] “Northwest Corridor Public Comment Period for the Reevaluation of Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) In Progress.” Georgia Department of Transportation. March 26, 2013. Available at:
http://nwcproject.com/media/pdfs/DBF/PrssRls_13.pdf

[4] “Record of Decision: Northwest Corridor Project.” Federal Highway Administration and Georgia Department of Transportation. May 2013. Available at:
http://www.nwcproject.com/media/pdfs/NWCP_ROD_2013.pdf

[5] “Georgia’s largest road construction project is almost done, GDOT says.” WSBTV Atlanta. February 13, 2018. Available at:
https://www.wsbtv.com/news/local/georgias-largest-road-construction-project-is-almost-done-gdot-says/698895256

 

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