No variable specified
Express lane construction set to begin
by Noreen Cochran
July 25, 2013 12:29 PM | 2765 views | 0 0 comments | 25 25 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The Georgia Department of Transportation awarded a $176 million contract earlier this month to Marietta-based C.W. Matthews Contracting Co. to build 12 miles of variable-rate toll lanes along I-75 between McDonough Road and Stockbridge Highway in Henry and Clayton counties.

“This project is going to provide trip time reliability and mobility options on this portion of the interstate highway system in metropolitan Atlanta by adding much-needed new capacity,” Commissioner Keith Golden said in a statement.

“Well in excess of 100,000 vehicles, including both commuters and thousands of tractor-trailers passing through Atlanta, utilize this corridor each day. These express lanes will benefit both the commuters and the through traffic and, as one of the first components of the department’s metro-wide managed lanes network, will offer a glimpse of the improved mobility options coming to all of metro Atlanta.”

Two lanes will be added in the center median of I-75 from Stockbridge Highway in south Clayton to just north of State Route 20 and one reversible lane, also in the center median, will extend from that point to McDonough Road in Henry.

The lanes will be reversible, carrying traffic northbound in the mornings and southbound in afternoons and evenings, and barrier-separated.

Therein lies the problem, McDonough resident Doug Bagwell said.

“What if people break down? If they break down, there’s not an emergency spot where you can pull over,” he said. “What if a tractor-trailer stalled there? It would be a mess.”

The State Road and Tollway Authority is partnering with GDOT on the project.

Motorists will be able to use the I-75 lanes by using the authority’s Peach Pass which deploys remote transponders to assess variable-rate tolls based on traffic volumes.

That could also become an issue, Bagwell said.

“If you travel as much as I do, you see plates from other states,” he said. “They’re not going to have a Georgia pass and they won’t even understand it.”

The Federal Highway Authority green-lighted the project June 28 with its finding of no significant impact on the environment.

“[The] next steps are to issue a Notice to Proceed and then schedule a preconstruction conference with all parties to set the start date for construction,” department spokeswoman Kimberly Larson said.

Initial work is likely to begin later this year and the lanes will be open to traffic by Dec. 31, 2016.
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