Savannah, Ga. – July 31, 2012 – Top officials from the Georgia Ports Authority and the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) held a ribbon-cutting today for the Highway 307 Overpass, one of the final steps in a cargo beltway linking the Port of Savannah to the Southeast, U.S.
“This particular road project provides even stronger freight handling via road and rail to and from the fastest growing region of the United States,” said GPA Executive Director Curtis Foltz. “The Highway 307 improvements work in tandem with other state and GPA projects that seamlessly link two interstate systems, an extensive rail network and the Port of Savannah.”
The Highway 307 Overpass is located just outside the Port of Savannah’s major gate complex where 12.5 percent of the nation’s containerized exports, or one out of every eight export containers originate. The new overpass will route cargo trucks over six rail tracks at the port’s on-terminal Mason Intermodal Container Transfer Facility (ICTF). In addition, the GPA is soon to complete a major expansion of the Mason ICTF
“Providing better mobility for port traffic supports both state and regional transportation needs,” state DOT Commissioner Keith Golden said. “Every dollar we invest in coordinating road and maritime transportation pays dividends in Georgia and the entire Southeast in the form of good jobs and economic growth.”
Total cost of the Highway 307 overpass is $22.5 million. GDOT is putting the finishing touches on the overpass, which should open to traffic next month.
“Enhancing Highway 307 and other transportation infrastructure around the port is a smart investment of state dollars, because the ports and our logistics industry support some 352,000 jobs across Georgia,” Foltz said. “Safely expediting import and export cargo helps to keep those jobs and future investment here at home.”
The overpass is part of a cargo beltway providing direct access from Garden City Terminal to Interstates 95 and 16. An important component of this initiative is the Jimmy DeLoach Parkway Connector. The 3.1-mile, four-lane extension will directly link Garden City Terminal to I-95. GDOT has approved state bonds for $121 million to pay for the project. The project is scheduled for completion in 2015.
In addition to the ongoing rail extensions at the Mason Intermodal Container Transfer Facility, other improvements will allow Norfolk Southern trains to enter the rail yard from the northwest, instead of looping through Garden City to enter from the east. This enhancement will drastically reduce the use of 21 at-grade rail crossings and improve efficiency at Mason ICTF.
Garden City is the only terminal on the East Coast with two on-site intermodal yards servicing Class I rail providers Norfolk Southern and CSX. Through its road and rail connections, the Port of Savannah serves 18 major retail distribution centers encompassing more than 15 million square-feet of space. These are operated by cargo owners such as Lowe’s, Target, The Home Depot and Bass Pro Shops. In addition, the port also serves many other third-party warehousing operations.
Other planned transportation improvements, which will improve truck transit times and safety, include a Brampton Road Connector to Interstate 516, and the widening of Grange Road to improve access to the north end of the terminal.
Georgia’s deepwater ports and inland barge terminals support more than 352,000 jobs throughout the state annually and contribute $18.5 billion in income, $66.9 billion in revenue and $2.5 billion in state and local taxes to Georgia’s economy. The Port of Savannah was the second busiest U.S. container port for the export of American goods by tonnage in FY2011. It also handled 8.7 percent of the U.S. containerized cargo volume and 12.5 percent of all U.S. containerized exports in FY2011.