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Transit projects delayed; Ga. 400 toll plaza work to start
by Everett Catts
December 31, 2013 10:53 AM | 4081 views | 0 0 comments | 21 21 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Three transportation projects under construction in Buckhead, two of which were supposed to be completed this week or next week, will be delayed, but one is on schedule and could start this week.

The Ga. 400/Interstate 85 interchange completion project, set to open Tuesday, has been pushed back until Feb. 3.

“Due to the [recent] extreme wet weather and lower temperature conditions, the completion date will be delayed to the first week of February,” Karlene Barron, a Georgia Department of Transportation spokeswoman, said in an email Thursday.

The 400/85 project has been anticipated since Ga. 400’s $82.1 million extension south from I-285 to I-85 opened in August 1993. From then to today, commuters have had no direct access via an interchange going those directions.

The $22.5 million development began construction July 15, 2011, and many metro Atlantans have long awaited the improved access to both major arteries and reduced traffic on surface streets including Sidney Marcus Boulevard and Lenox Road. The project includes two single-lane interchange ramps with one connecting 85 southbound to 400 northbound and the other to serve 400 southbound to 85 northbound traffic. Those lanes were not built during the original 400 extension because the state ran out of money for the project.

North on 400 from that development, the highway’s toll plaza’s demolition will start later this month as planned. Barron said GDOT has not set a date yet, though.

In August the State Road and Tollway Authority announced the tolls would end Nov. 21 and the $3.5 million demolition project, awarded to Southeastern Site Development Inc., would start in January, after the holidays.

In July 2012, Gov. Nathan Deal announced the state would pay off its bond debt and end the 400 tolls by December 2013. The Nov. 21 date was selected to lessen the impact on Thanksgiving holiday travel.

Since November, traffic was shifted to three general-purpose lanes where motorists had used the electronic tolling lanes. Toll booth demolition is expected to be completed between January and May. Once the cash booths and the structure overhead are removed, traffic will shift over so the rest of the toll plaza can be taken down. Once that happens, traffic will shift back over and remain there permanently.

Not far from those 400 projects, the Buckhead MARTA station’s $32.2 million pedestrian bridge, which crosses that highway, continues. It was scheduled to open Dec. 31 but has been postponed until this spring, MARTA spokesman Lyle Harris said in an email Thursday.

“The delay was necessary to ensure full compliance with the Federal Transit Administration’s grant funding guidelines that require major, project-related systems be procured from domestic companies under the Buy America Act,” Harris said in an email.

Follow-up emails asking what percentage of the bridge would be made with U.S.-based company products and the project’s cost were not immediately returned Thursday.

The bridge will connect pedestrians from Tower Place and Stratford Road to the station.

“It’s expected to bring a few thousand more riders a day,” Brian McHugh, the Buckhead Community Improvement District’s director of transportation and planning, said at the Buckhead Council of Neighborhoods meeting Dec. 12.

Information: visit, (Ga. 400 toll plaza) or

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