FULTON COUNTY, Ga. - A former NFL player crashed into a guard rail on Georgia 400 on the first morning of the shoulder being open to drivers, police said.
Sandy Springs police arrested Larry Roberts, a defensive end of the San Francisco 49ers from 1986 to 1993. Police said he was driving on a suspended license when he veered off the road and into the guard rail.
Police said he was wanted for driving on a suspended license and failure to appear in court.
GDOT opened up the shoulder of Georgia 400 southbound to commuters on Monday to help ease congestion on the busy stretch of highway.
The shoulder between the Holcomb Bridge Road ramp and the North Springs MARTA Station exit is now available to drivers between 6:30 a.m. and 9:30 a.m.
The new road plan caused some confusion for drivers, and trip times on the stretch of highways showed no improvement on the first day.
"Just one more lane for people to drive stupid in," one commuter said.
"It increased the commute by 25 minutes," another commuter said.
GDOT put out barrels around 8:30 a.m. Monday to stop drivers from using a section of the shoulder near the Northridge exit, Channel 2's Amanda Cook reported. GDOT said it will have to make it more clear for drivers that they cannot use that small section of the shoulder.
Just before the shoulder was opened up, GDOT sent HERO units out to sweep the shoulder for any cars that may have been abandoned in the emergency lane overnight.
GDOT said the five-mile stretch is one of the most congested stretches of highway in all of metro Atlanta.
"We figured this was a good location to try this project. The shoulder had been reinforced before, so they're prepared for drivers to drive on them," Jill Goldbert of GDOT said.
New signs and markings have been placed on the road to guide commuters, but most agree there will be a learning curve with the new lane.
If emergency responders do need to get by, drivers in the left lane will move to the left, drivers in the next lane over will move to the right, parting in the middle to make room for emergency vehicles.
The speed limit for the shoulder is 45 mph, instead of 65 mph on the rest of the highway.
GDOT said it is hopeful the traffic will improve every day.
Depending on the success of this project, GDOT may open up the northbound shoulder for the evening commute.