Governor Kemp hopes that GA DOT can reopen one westbound lane of I-16 Sunday, July 18, 2021. An early morning accident caused significant damage to the State Route 86 bridge over, I-16 early Thursday morning, July 15, 2021.

A tractor trailer, traveling westbound on I-16, with a dump bed raised struck the bridge shifting the entire bridge six feet according to GDOT Commissioner Russell McMurry. Over 21,000 cars pass this section of I-16 daily.

GA DOT – EAST

Commissioner McMurray participated in a 3:00 PM press conference on Thursday with Governor Brian Kemp to address the I-16 closure.

They have closed both lanes covering a seven mile stretch of I-16 between Exit 71 (Swainsboro) to Exit 78 (Soperton).

The dump bed struck the bridge with enough force to shift the bridge beam out of place.

GA DOT – EAST

State Route 86 only has between 200 and 300 cars that travel over the bridge daily. GA DOT determined the best way to get the interstate open as quickly as possible was to demolish the bridge. Crews are on the scene now and will begin demolition immediately.

GA DOT – EAST

I-16 Reopening Plan

They hope to reopen the one Westbound (Savannah to Macon) lane on Sunday, July 18th. Then their goal is to reopen one Eastbound (Macon to Savannah) lane by Monday, July 19th.

Once the bridge is completely removed, they will reopen all four lanes. The goal is to have this accomplished by mid-week, next week, which is the week of July 19 – 23.

There is no timeline now on when they will begin rebuilding the bridge over the interstate.

Georgia DOT split the Eastbound and Westbound detour routes to help alleviate congestion as much as possible.

Westbound Detour (24 mile detour) – Savannah to Macon:

Take Exit 78- Turn Right onto Highway 221 North, Left onto US 80 West, go through town of Adrian, Left onto State Route 15, Re-Enter I-16 at Exit 71

Eastbound Detour (10 mile detour) – Macon to Savannah:

Take Exit 71 – Turn Right onto Highway 15, through Soperton, Left onto State Route 46, Left onto State Route 56, Re-Enter I-16 at Exit 78

DeWayne Grice

Herschel DeWayne Grice is the founder of Grice Connect an online news and information company in Statesboro, Georgia. DeWayne has been active in the media for over three decades. He brings a unique insight...