The Georgia Department of Transportation says it cannot afford to build a new interstate through Southwest Georgia.
The proposed interstate would link 32 counties at a cost of $3 billion. Officials say the price tag outweighs the benefits to the region.
The conclusion comes after DOT officials poured-over projected traffic patterns and growth maps for the next 30 years. The DOT also involved Southwest Georgia elected officials and business leaders in the year-and-a-half long study.
DOT assistant planning director Matthew Fowler says instead of an interstate, a ‘next-best’ option is being backed by state transportation officials:
"The one thing we heard over and over no matter where we were, was to widen (Ga. Highway) 133 between Albany and Valdosta, and we are making that recommendation. I think a lot of people are really comfortable with that recommendation."
Fowler says a widening of Ga. Highway 133 is a better economic option at a cost of $500 million. The DOT also recommends continued improvements to US-27 in the region.
Final details of the Southwest GA Interstate study should be available on the DOT’s website in late December.