The Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) in the USA has moved into the next phase of a project that will expand its NaviGAtor traffic management system, while simultaneously establishing the backbone for high-speed internet and enhanced telecommunications across the state, especially in rural areas.
Following a Request for Information (RFI) in autumn 2017 that yielded 21 responses from interested parties GDOT has now posted a Public Notice of Advertisement (PNA) for the Georgia Interstate Broadband and Wireless Deployment P3 Project.
The primary goal of the project is the statewide expansion of GDOT’s 511 NaviGAtor traffic management system, which would bring road safety benefits, while also forming a first step toward bringing high-speed internet to all citizens.
The project employs asset recycling, the use of existing assets, to creatively fund infrastructure at no cost to taxpayers and at no additional government debt, with the initiative specifically using existing right-of-way (ROW) along the state of Georgia’s interstates.
The use of existing ROW for this project has vast potential for Georgia. It would improve safety by enhancing internal GDOT communications and communications with citizens by using technology to feed information from cameras to dynamic message signs (DMS) on interstate highways across the state. This is especially important during inclement weather and natural disasters when the more roadway information GDOT can provide about incidents, power outages and debris, the safer it is for drivers.
GDOT anticipates that the scheme will consist of a contract with a private partner, potentially for a duration of up to 25 years, to design, build, finance, operate and maintain a broadband fiber optic cable and small cell wireless network along 1,300 miles (2,092km) of GDOT ROW on interstates across Georgia.
The contract would include managing and maintaining the current and future GDOT broadband fiber optic network, future wireless antennas and support structures. While reserving capacity for GDOT and the state’s current and future broadband and wireless needs, it would also allow the private partner to lease the network to third parties for commercial activities. A notice of Request for Qualifications (RFQ) will be issued in May and final proposals will be due in spring 2019.
“The future has a fiber optic connection and this project puts Georgia in an advantageous position as an early adopter of connected and autonomous vehicle technology,” said GDOT’s commissioner, Russell R McMurry. “Improved safety, high-speed internet in rural areas, and looking towards the future; all at no cost to taxpayers. That’s a win-win for everyone.”