McCarthy outlines port improvements


Post image

Agencies discuss strength of existing partnerships at Georgia Transportation Summit to plan and keep Georgia business competitive in the future.

SAVANNAH, Ga., Dec. 12, 2023 – At the 2023 Georgia Transportation Summit, Chief Operating Officer Ed McCarthy detailed the Georgia Ports Authority’s $4.5 billion in projects and plans to enhance port infrastructure over the next decade.

The Georgia Transportation Summit is held annually in partnership with the Georgia Department of Transportation. Drawing more than 1,500 in attendance, this event features transportation leaders, elected officials, and professionals from Georgia’s engineering industry. 

McCarthy spoke about how GPA has a very strong partnership and planning process with the Georgia Department of Transportation to design long-term infrastructure projects to ensure the state is the number one state to do business. “We work closely with GDOT Commissioner Russell McMurry whose engineering leadership, data-driven approach and future investments keep Georgia’s freight transportation system the industry leader. By 2026, GDOT’s $127 million Brampton Road Connector will provide direct access for trucks from Interstate 516 to Gate 3 of the Port of Savannah’s Garden City Terminal – expanding capacity while reducing impact on local traffic on communities.”  Truck transportation is the greatest user of the port while  rail averages 18-21% of the cargo volume. Rail is used to target high volume corridors that are over 200 miles away from the port.

McCarthy’s presentation was part of a panel discussion moderated by Michael Sullivan, President and CEO of the American Council of Engineering Companies of Georgia. Panel members included Anna Roach, executive director and CEO of the Atlanta Regional Commission, Balram Bheodari, general manager of Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, Collie Greenwood, general manager and CEO of MARTA, Jannine Miller, director of planning at GDOT and Russell McMurry, Georgia Department of Transportation Commissioner.

Among GPA’s projects are:

  • Garden City Terminal West, which will add 1 million twenty-foot equivalent container units of annual container yard capacity at the Port of Savannah. Slated for completion in two phases in 2024.
  • Blue Ridge Connector, a $127 million investment to create an inland rail terminal slated to open in 2026 in Gainesville as an economic catalyst for Northeast Georgia.
  • Improvements to Berth 1 at Garden City Terminal, completed in August, which allow the berth to serve vessels in the 16,000+ TEU range, and add 1.5 million TEUs of annual capacity. Georgia Ports now has seven berths open in Savannah.

Notable GDOT projects are:

  • Statewide Freight Plan 2050.
  • Talmadge Bridge (spans Savannah River) Maintenance and Air Draft project. An approximately 36 month process once construction starts in 2025. Replaces existing cables of 32-year-old structure, performs planned maintenance to bearings, joints and barriers.  Seeks to increase vertical clearance under the bridge within the shipping channel as part of cable replacement process.  Bridge will remain open while these actions are completed.
  • $318 million interchange at I-16 and I-95 west of Savannah.
  • $48 million improvement to Dean Forest Road (SR 307) @ I-16 Diverging Diamond Interchange. Substantial completion by Q1 2024.
  • $265 million estimated improvement to Hyundai Metaplant in Bryan County State Road with 30/US 280 widening; I-16 Frontage Road; I-16 at Old Cuyler Road Interchange Roundabout.
  • $66 million improvement to Effingham Parkway from Blue Jay Road to State Road. Substantial completion by summer 2025.
  • Coastal Empire Study: A GDOT study identified 75% of the truck freight traffic generated from Port of Savannah are destined to four nearby counties in Georgia (Chatham, Bryan, Effingham, Bulloch). Total industrial space in the Coastal region is expected to double within 10 years.
  • Improvements to I-16/I-75 Phase 4 and 5 in Macon.

About Georgia Ports

Georgia’s ports and inland terminals support more than 561,000 jobs throughout the state annually, and contribute $33 billion in income, $140 billion in revenue and $3.8 billion in state and local taxes to Georgia’s economy. GPA is investing in future supply chain requirements with a $1.9 billion port master plan and a $6 million workforce housing initiative. The Ports of Savannah and Brunswick benefit from an extensive supply chain ecosystem of business partners located near the port which perform essential functions in the logistics chain. CNBC ranked Georgia #1 in the U.S. for infrastructure in America’s Top States for Business in 2023.   

Area Development  – a site selection news outlet for the U.S., has ranked Georgia as the Top State to Do Business for ten consecutive years.  For further information, visit or contact Chief Communications Officer Tom Boyd at [email protected] or call (912) 964-3855.