Commissioners discuss changing I-16, 75 interchange

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MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – Macon-Bibb Commissioners and residents sparked a heated discussion about possibly changing the name of the I-16 and 75 interchanges.

For the past 18 years, the interchange has reminded some of the “Prisoners of War” (POW) and “Missing in Action” (MIA) soldiers who have not come home.

“This interchange has been great and when you think of how many people come through that interchange every day, it’s unbelievable. A lot of people don’t see the sign, but a lot of people do,” Major Bobby Jones’ sister Joanne Shirley said.

Tuesday morning, Macon-Bibb Commissioner Elaine Lucas presented an idea during the committee meeting to add her husband, Senator David Lucas, to the interchange’s name.

“Please believe that there is no competition here. We’ve just got two things that we got to do together and you’re welcome to continue working with us to come up with something and to make sure that MIA’s and POW’s and those presently serving us and protecting us are always remembered and never forgotten,” Lucas said.

Currently, the interchange is named after Macon native Major Bobby Jones. He went MIA in the ’70s when his plane got shot down in Vietnam.

Shirly says changing the name takes the focus off of POW.

“Most people have no idea how many people we have missing and unaccounted for. They don’t realize we have that many that we need to still be working for and bringing them home with honor and honor them for the service and commitments they’ve made for us,” Shirley said.

However, Louie Hargrove believes the interchange name should be shared.

“All that money David Lucas brought in Macon-Bibb County. That’s a shame. That man brought in a lot of money here. Not just the highway, but Mercer University, The Medical Center and probably here,” Hargrove said.

Commissioners will continue the name change discussion during next Tuesday’s commission meeting.

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Tanya comes all the way from Chicago, Illinois. She’s a city girl that’s excited to be a part of Middle Georgia’s community and tell your stories! She received a degree in Broadcast Journalism from Columbia College Chicago. She also spent a few semesters studying at San Diego State University. While in college, she interviewed Joan Rivers before she passed away, was on the red carpet for the movie premiere of “Chiraq” and also interned with ABC7’s investigative reporters and Bill Kurtis. Tanya spent nearly 2 years reporting in Billings, Montana where she covered a lot of politics and agriculture. In her spare time, Tanya is a sports fanatic, so even though the Chicago Bears and Bulls didn’t know how to win this season, she still roots for them. You can guarantee you’ll run into her at the gym every day. If you do, stop by and say hi! Share your stories with her and don’t be surprised if she’s hiding chocolate chip cookies in her gym bag.