GDOT planning $5.1B Interstate 285 expansion

Georgia – A regional-scale Top End Express Lane project is being considered by the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) to relieve congestion on Interstate 285 in the Atlanta area. According to GDOT’s website, more than 240,000 vehicles travel this highway section every weekday.
GDOT plans to start construction on two new elevated, barrier-separated toll lanes in each direction in 2023 with completion in 2028 along the end of the Perimeter between Paces Ferry Road in Cobb County and Henderson Road in DeKalb County. New toll lanes on Ga. 400 from I-285 to the North Springs MARTA station also are planned.
State and federal funding is expected to pay for the $5.1 billion project. Officials will issue a notice in September of their intent to proceed with the plan, which will be followed by an environmental review and draft of preliminary plans. The expansion is part of GDOT’s Major Mobility Investment Program, which will start with 11 large-scale initial projects.

Congress sends $19.1B disaster relief bill to president

Washington, D.C. – A $19.1 billion disaster aid bill cleared a final hurdle in Congress with a 354-58 vote in the House on June 3. The U.S. Senate passed the bill earlier on May 23 with a 85-8 vote.
The president’s signature of the bill would release billions of dollars to communities around the country decimated by disasters. It also includes a provision for sending $4 billion to Texas that Congress allocated last year to assist with Hurricane Harvey recovery efforts.
The bill also aims to help hurricane victims in the Southeast, flood victims in the Midwest, and wildfire victims in California. It includes monies to repair highways and infrastructure such as military bases and helps farmers cover crop losses, and extends a national flood insurance program to Sept. 30. Puerto Rico would receive $1.4 billion in aid that includes a $605 million nutrition program and $304 million of community development grants to help it rebuild from 2017’s Hurricane Maria.

Port Authority explores bus terminal replacement options

New York – The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey released a 181-page scoping document on May 23 that identifies three options for replacing the Port Authority Bus Terminal in Manhattan. One option outlined in the scoping document is to rebuild the terminal on its current site. Another suggests converting the lower level of the Jacob Javits Center into an underground bus terminal. A third option considers moving long-haul intercity bus operations to Javits’ lower level.
Included in the document is an environmental review that signals the start of public outreach for what is expected to be a multi-billion dollar effort to address issues at the world’s busiest bus terminal. The Authority stated that the facility is suffering under the weight of growing demand in light of its aging infrastructure and systems, problems caused by obsolete assets and facilities, and capacity constraints.
This “kickoff of the formal public outreach process for the new bus terminal is a critical milestone for what will be one of the largest and most important transit infrastructure projects in the country,” Port Authority Chairman Kevin O’Toole said in a press release. “We are strongly committed to replacing this legacy, over-capacity facility, and look forward to a spirited dialogue with all stakeholders on how the project will proceed.”
The existing Port Authority Bus Terminal was built in 1950 and expanded in 1981. The terminal now serves an estimated 260,000 passenger trips on weekdays. Demand is expected to increase by 30 percent, with up to 337,000 weekday passenger trips by 2040, as forecast by regional Metropolitan Planning Organizations.

Kentucky prioritizes 100 eastern bridges for restoration

Kentucky – A state transportation cabinet unveiled a 100-bridge design-build project for the eastern part of the state on May 22 under the Bridging Kentucky Program.
According to the Bridging Kentucky website, the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC) will release a request for qualifications (RFQ) in early June from design-build teams interested in participating in the project, which includes a list of approximately 100 bridges that will be replaced. After receiving responses, the state will issue a request for proposals (RFP) to qualified respondents to select a design-build team later this year.

“We have a large concentration of bridges that need to be replaced in eastern Kentucky. More than half of the bridges in the program are located east of Interstate 75,” Program Manager Royce Meredith said in a press release. “By combining these projects into one larger design-build project, we expect to reduce construction costs for the program. We also expect that having a single team building these bridges will improve coordination among the tightly clustered projects and lessen the impact on travelers.”

The KYTC oversees the six-year Bridging Kentucky Program that will rehabilitate, repair, or replace more than 1,000 bridges across the state in an effort to improve safety, access, and mobility. The initiative will invest $700 million to restore bridges with the highest priority needs in order to reopen many closed structures and increase their load ratings. Construction started on some projects in fall 2018, and officials said they plan to shift more than 400 bridge projects from the design and planning phase to construction this year. The program’s goal is to deliver all projects to construction by 2024.