Rockdale looks at plan for new I-20 overpass

CONYERS -- The Salem Gate Extension and Interstate 20 overpass project is looking for a new home.

Tuesday, the Rockdale County Board of Commissioners approved a contract to renew a design agreement for the Salem Gate Extension and I-20 overpass.

"What this will do is facilitate us looking at a different location for the bridge," said Miguel Valentin, transportation director, at the BOC work session Nov. 15.

The overpass will connect Iris Drive to Old Covington Highway, according to the original 2005 contract.

The project dates back to the mid-'90s, according to Valentin.

"The need has been there much longer than that," he said. "At one point, there were eight or nine crossings over I-20 -- we're now down to four."

The current contract for an I-20 overpass has been in development since 2005. The overpass will help ease traffic and provide Rockdale residents easier access to the shopping areas near Ga. Highway 138. However, recent developments near Ga. Highway 138 have made it a less viable option for the overpass, according to Valentin.

"Initially, (the overpass) was going to be located where the Belk store is (on the north side of I-20)," he said. "They've looked at other locations in the past. We are now looking at a location that places it further east."

The contract would allow Mulkey Engineers and Associates Inc. to determine the feasibility of a new bridge location somewhere between Ga. Highway 138 and Ga. Highway 162. The contract also provides for some preliminary design and environmental testing.

"This would look at other locations that do not have as much development," Valentin said.

He said this overpass is aimed at trying to allow easier access between shopping areas on the north side of the county and the south side of the county.

"The traffic that we are trying to provide the service for has problems accessing (the shopping area)," Valentin said. "Providing that alternative access would make it much easier."