State transportation officials say they have been notified that federal authorities have agreed that the proposed Ga. 400/I-285 interchange will have no significant environment impact, clearing the way for the state to move ahead with the project.

“This is an amazing win for our team to be able to obtain approved environmental documents in such a short time frame,” Georgia Transportation Commissioner Russell McMurry said in a press release May 22. “Working with our partners on the project and collaborating with FHWA to meet tight deadlines resulted in the success we have today, and I am confident that we will continue that positive trend as we move forward with the project.”

Georgia DOT said it had received notification from the Federal Highway Administration  of the acceptance of both the Environmental Assessment FONSI (finding of no significant impact) for the I-285/GA400 interchange reconstruction and for the Environmental Assessment Re-Evaluation FONSI for the companion collector-distributor (CD) lanes segment this week.

The department said the federal action cleared the way for the mega project, expected to cost more than $1 billion, to move ahead in the procurement phase, and ultimate selection of a design-build-finance team.

Currently, four teams are short listed to provide competitive bid packages highlighting innovation in design and construction aspects of the new interchange project, DOT said.  Proposals are due in September and the apparent awardee will be announced in December.  The project is anticipated to open to traffic in 2020.

Joe Earle

Joe Earle is Editor-at-Large. He has more than 30-years of experience with daily newspapers, including the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and was Managing Editor of Reporter Newspapers.