The last day of toll collection is set for Nov. 21, weather permitting. The low bidder for the demolition, at $3.5 million, was Southeastern Site Development Inc., a Newnan-based firm which specializes in transportation, civil, site preparation, underground utilities and concrete flatwork projects.
“I acted as quickly as the state’s contractual obligations allowed to bring down the Ga. 400 toll,” Gov. Nathan Deal, who serves as the authority’s board chairman, said in a statement. “I pledged during my campaign for governor that I’d bring down the toll as the state promised commuters it would do when it opened the toll more than two decades ago. Today’s announcement is a big step toward making that happen.”
In July 2012, 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. In the case of inclement weather, the ending date will be moved to Nov. 22 or 23. The authority is funding the project costs, and the Georgia Department of Transportation will oversee construction and traffic management. Southeastern could set up site operations as early as September.
“This contract award marks another step in the fulfillment of Gov. Deal’s commitment to Ga. 400 motorists,” Georgia DOT Commissioner Keith Golden, a member of the authority’s board, said in a statement. “In the coming weeks, the Department will work with the selected contractor and with SRTA staff to make certain that when the toll plaza removal process begins later this year, it will not unduly impede traffic flow.”
Southeastern will determine the final construction timeline for the demolition of the toll booths and other aspects of the project are still being finalized. However, preliminary plans call for traffic to shift into three general purpose lanes where motorists currently use the electronic tolling lanes. Preliminary construction activities to prepare for that lane shift will likely begin in October 2013.
Once traffic is shifted, there is no heavy demolition work expected to take place during the winter holidays. 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 that the rest of the toll plaza can be taken down. Once that happens, traffic will shift back over and remain there permanently.
For drawings and more details on the project, visit http://www.georgiatolls.com/programs/ga-400/.