Govenor Nathan Deal joined Georgia Ports Authority Board Chairman-elect James L. Allgood, Georgia Department of Transportation Commissioner Russell R. McMurry and local leaders to celebrate the opening of the Jimmy DeLoach Connector. The highway extension provides the final connection between I-95, one of the country’s busiest interstates, and the Port of Savannah, the nation’s fourth-largest and fastest growing container port.
“Since taking office, improving and investing in our transportation and infrastructure system has been a key focus of mine,” said Deal. “To that end, I prioritised infrastructure projects that will ensure Georgia remains the gateway to the South. The completion of the Jimmy DeLoach Connector will be beneficial for both freight movement and driver safety around the Port of Savannah, while positively impacting Georgia’s economy. A direct east-west link from the port to Georgia’s highway system will expedite the delivery of cargo to and from every corner of the state, while relieving traffic and enhancing safety on State Route 21. The Jimmy DeLoach Connector is the final segment of that link, and I am proud to see this investment come to fruition.”
The new Connector is a 3.1-mile, four-lane highway between State Route 307 and the terminus of the Jimmy DeLoach Parkway. The route largely runs parallel to State Route 21 and allows direct access to I-95 and I-16 for the more than 8,000 trucks that enter and leave the Port of Savannah each day.
“The new Jimmy DeLoach Connector is a strategic mobility investment that will yield enormous benefits for the state,” said Commissioner McMurry. “It will dramatically reduce truck traffic and improve safety on Augusta Highway. Further, it is projected to yield a benefit-cost ratio of 8:1 for Georgia taxpayers. Finally, the innovative design-build utilised during construction has resulted in savings of over $8 million from cost estimates.”
The Connector offers numerous benefits for freight movement, driver safety and economic advantages. Moving freight between port facilities in the Savannah area is critical to the local, state and regional economy. The Connector will improve travel time from the port to I-95 and accommodate the increasing truck traffic entering and exiting the port.
“Under the leadership of Govenor Nathan Deal, Georgia’s cargo transportation network continues to expand and improve,” said Allgood. “Not only will the Jimmy DeLoach Connector expedite cargo to and from the Port of Savannah and important inland markets, it will also improve transit times and safety for local commuters.”
In 2011, the General Assembly authorised the sale of up to $100 million in bonds to fund the project, which included right of way costs of $20 million, construction costs of $72.7 million and an additional $5 million in utility relocation costs. The project was awarded to the design-build team of Archer-Western Contractors/LPA Group (Michael Baker) in December 2011.