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Georgia Readies New Toll Road Option For Atlanta’s Rush Hour Traffic

In January, new toll road options will open along a 12-mile stretch of Interstate 75 South of downtown Atlanta.
In January, new toll road options will open along a 12-mile stretch of Interstate 75 South of downtown Atlanta.
Credit Alison Guillory / WABE
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In January, new toll road options will open along a 12-mile stretch of Interstate 75 South of downtown Atlanta. Officials call it a highway within a highway, according to this week’s Atlanta Business Chronicle.

For up to 90 cents a mile, harried motorists heading to work, an important business meeting or to see their kid’s ballgame will be able to move from a gridlocked general-use lane into a toll lane offering a speed-limit drive.

That’s the concept behind a series of “managed lane” projects that will start with the I-75 South Metro Express Lanes in Henry County and continue with the Northwest Corridor, now under construction along I-75 and I-575 in Cobb and Cherokee counties.

The I-75 project will provide additional capacity because it will add new lanes to the highway. For most of the route between Georgia 138 in Stockbridge and Georgia 155 in McDonough, two reversible lanes will run northbound during the morning commute and southbound during the afternoon rush.

Also the I-75 South lanes will be separated by barriers from the general-use lanes. The toll lanes are being built into the median of the existing highway.

Bringing toll lanes to I-75 is sure to reopen the same philosophical debate over charging motorists to get out of traffic that was waged when the I-85 project opened in 2011. Wherever drivers across the country have had to pay a toll for driving on one part of a highway that is free on other parts of the same road, naysayers have criticized the fairness of so-called  “Lexus” lanes.

Dave Williams covers government for Atlanta Business Chronicle

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