DOT commissioner: Construction work on I-75/I-16 interchange delayed until 2018

The construction timetable for Macon's new Interstate 75/Interstate 16 interchange has been pushed back several years, with work now slated to begin in 2018.

The timetable was reset within the last month, Georgia Department of Transportation Commissioner Gena Evans said this afternoon. The price tag for the project has gone up as well, now topping $320 million in 2018 dollars, the commissioner said.

The start date isn’t final, but it’s the recommendation from the state’s chief engineer, Evans said.

“We’ve got a lot more work to do on our final date,” she said, including discussions with local officials.

The project's start date has always been something of a moving target, given the lengthy design and federal approval process for such a major undertaking. But, as of this time last year, construction was slated to begin in 2012.

Since then the department has talked about splitting the project into phases because of its cost, and because of a multi-billion-dollar shortfall between the money the DOT expects to have in coming years and the cost of projects it wants to do.

Non-construction work, such as design work, federal reviews and acquiring land for the new interchange, will continue despite the project’s delay, Evans said.

“At some point in time (the project) will come,” she said.