Fall Line Freeway

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State Route 540 marker

State Route 540
Fall Line Freeway
Route information
Maintained by GDOT
Length: 215 mi[1] (346 km)
History: Under construction as of 2014
Major junctions
West end: Alabama state line near Columbus
  Macon, Milledgeville
East end: South Carolina state line near Augusta
Highway system
  • Georgia State Routes
SR 520 SR 545

The Fall Line Freeway is a highway designed to span the width of the U.S. state of Georgia from the Alabama state line, in Columbus to Augusta, passing through several cities including Macon and Milledgeville. It is planned to become part of a proposed Interstate 14.

Construction, design, and route[edit]

The highway is under construction. It will be designated State Route 540 upon completion. Contrary to its description as a "freeway," the Fall Line Freeway will be a four-lane divided highway, except a short section within Wrens and two freeway sections: following Interstate 75 from Byron to Macon and the J.R. Allen Parkway, the bypass north of Columbus. The highway is designed to assist the flow of commercial traffic, providing an easier path for freight trucks carrying goods between Columbus and Augusta avoiding Atlanta. Much of the route follows existing U.S. Route 80, SR 24, and SR 88, while other parts will be newly constructed roads, some of which, such as the portion from Milledgeville to Sandersville, are currently under construction or have not yet been built.

Status[edit]

As of January 2014, approximately 205 miles (330 km) (95.81 percent)[1][2][3][4] of the route is open to traffic or under construction, including the entirety of the route between Columbus and Macon. The highway will follow US 80 from Columbus eastward to Geneva, SR 96 from there to Fort Valley, and SR 49 Connector and SR 49 to Byron, where it joins I-75. It follows I-75 to Macon, then proceeds east along or near SR 57 as far as the Wilkinson County line. The Fall Line Freeway then will proceed northeastward mostly on new roadway until it reaches SR 24 just southeast of Milledgeville, and it then follows SR 24, SR 88, and US 1/SR 4 to Augusta, ending at I-520.[1]

The route's final 9-mile-long (14 km) section of new roadway between SR 24 and US 441 south of Milledgeville in Baldwin and Wilkinson counties, as well of the 16-mile-long (26 km) widening of SR 24 to the Sandersville bypass, was awarded to Balfour Beatty Infrastructure, Inc. of Fleming Island, Florida in January 2013.[2][3][4]

It appears as though GDOT has delayed plans to address the highway's passage through the city of Wrens, where it reduces to a two-lane road through downtown with a center turn lane. According to GDOT's GRIP maps, the section through Wrens is considered complete.[5] Other documents suggest that GDOT has entertained the idea of a Wrens bypass, however.[6]

Macon route[edit]

The alignment near Macon was originally intended to follow a new extension of roadway from I-75 at US 80 in the southern part of Macon east and northeast to reunite with US 80 east of the city, providing Macon with a much-needed southeast bypass. However, this route was planned through the traditional cultural property of the Muscogee Indians in the Ocmulgee National Monument. Opposition to the project resulted in its cancellation, even after almost 1 mile (1.6 km) of the new highway, ending at a stub and consisting of two long bridges, was constructed. The freeway now follows I-75 into Macon, then turn east on I-16, departing it at US 80 and following that highway eastward out of Macon. Despite this, Macon Mayor Robert Reichert has expressed interest in utilizing new highway in south Bibb County, connecting I-75 to US 129/SR 11, as a possible alignment for the Fall Line Freeway; this would require another highway extension across the swamps surrounding the Ocmulgee River.[citation needed]

Interstate 14[edit]

The Fall Line Freeway, including portions of US 80 is designated to be included in I-14, a proposed future interstate that would travel from either Natchez, Mississippi or Alexandria, Louisiana to Augusta.[citation needed]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]