ATLANTA — Governor Sonny Perdue today announced the Georgia Department of Transportation’s new Interstate 85 interchange at Exit 6 in Troup County has been completed ahead of schedule and is now open to traffic. The interchange and related new roads in the area provide direct access to the Kia Motors Manufacturing of Georgia, Inc., production facility currently under construction.
“This is another milestone in the partnership between Georgia and Kia Motors,” Governor Perdue said. “The assembly facility and nearby suppliers will create thousands of jobs for Georgians and billions of dollars of new investment. The construction jobs both at the plant and building the interchange have already contributed heavily to the area’s economy, and Georgia DOT has done a great job completing this project ahead of schedule.”
Georgia DOT Commissioner Gena Evans noted that the project is an enormous achievement for the Department considering a tight, 18-month construction timetable that needed to be met. Work was finished more than 30 days ahead of that schedule. It is the largest design-build construction project initiated to-date by Georgia DOT. Design-build focuses on combining design and construction activities in order to expedite the traditional design-bid-build process.
“This effort proves that design-build can be successful when applied to the right projects,” Evans said. “Georgia DOT is proud to have played a role in helping to bring new jobs and improved mobility to the area. It is a great day for West Point, Troup County and the entire State of Georgia.”
Opening the interchange and associated Kia Boulevard and Kia Parkway early will make it much easier for new and potential employees to access the training center and the production facility, said Randy Jackson, director of human resources at Kia. “On behalf of Kia Motors Manufacturing Georgia, I would like to extend our sincere gratitude and appreciation for the hard work it took to arrive at this point, on time and accident free,” Jackson said.
With more than 6,000 new jobs expected to be generated through the Kia plant and related automotive suppliers the economic impact of the overall project will be enormous, according to West Point Mayor Drew Ferguson, IV. “We are greatly appreciative of the vision of the Governor and the role the Georgia Department of Transportation has played in getting the project underway and finished so quickly,” Ferguson said. “The quality of work has been outstanding.”
In addition to the interchange, the $80.7 million project includes approximately five miles of new frontage and access roads, two new bridges, improvements to connecting roadways and new traffic signals at various locations. The project was singled out by the U.S. Department of Transportation to receive $1 million in grant funding through the Highways for LIFE program which focuses on improving highway construction projects through the application of innovative approaches to design and construction. This program also made it possible for the entire project to be fully funded by the federal government, saving the State approximately $16 million in traditionally required matching funds.
Kia Motors Manufacturing Georgia, Inc. (KMMG) is the first manufacturing site in North America for Kia Motors Corporation based in Seoul, Korea. KMMG is located on 2,200 acres in West Point, Georgia, and is scheduled to begin production in the last quarter of 2009. At full capacity, the plant will have the ability to produce 300,000 vehicles annually and employ approximately 2,500 team members.