We'll work this up for a piece in the regular paper soon (although it's not really new news, unless you haven't been paying attention). But I thought folks might like to see side-by-side pictures of the current interchange and the one planned for construction here in 2012.
Anyone who's ever wondered "How come those tree-hugging kooks in Macon keep saying this thing will be too big?" probably has their answer now.
Both renderings are from Moreland Altobelli, the primary engineering firm on this project, which is being coordinated through the Georgia Department of Transportation and the Federal Highway Administration. The DOT communications staff, which I find to be really helpful, emailed them at my request.
There's a reason for all those lanes, of course. To the south (your left) of the drawing there's an interstate exit. And to the east (your down) there are three exits off of I-16 all within a mile-and-a-half or so. That it is really unusual and complicates the interchange because of the "weaving" it creates.
That means people have to shift across several lanes under the current design to quickly go from I-75 to I-16 to Spring Street, which is the first exit.
The engineers' answer has been to separate the entrance and exit ramps. The ramps are going to be very long, so you will basically have to decide what you want to do (continue on I-75, get on I-16, get off on an exit) well before you reach the interchange itself. And then you'll be locked into that decision by concrete barriers. I'm not certain how many different "locked in" ramps there will be, or where they will begin, but I will check on that.
Without some pretty clear signage (and maybe even with it) I think it's safe to say a lot of people will be missing their exits. But the weave would be solved.
Finally - that small bridge on the far left of the new design? That's the pedestrian bridge across the river for the greenway trail.
The DOT's Web site for this project, by the way, is http://www.i16i75.com/.