by: Tom Regan Updated:
ATLANTA - Toll booth workers on Ga. 400 are waving drivers through without paying, hours before toll collection was expected to stop.
The toll booth lanes will remain open through the rush hour commute, but drivers should brace for possible backups and bottlenecks when they close.
Traffic that normally flows through the seven toll lanes will be redirected to Peach Pass Lanes that will be subdivided into three lanes.
"So you will have three lanes coming through the Cruise Card section. Now this will be an active construction zone, so it's very important that everyone traveling through there treats it as such," said Georgia Department of Transportation spokesperson Natalie Dale.
Limousine driver Isaac Oyebade told Channel 2's Steve Gehlbach he drives through the toll at least three times a day and he's happy they are coming down.
"Traffic will be backed up for a while, but I think after they finish constructing everything it will be fine," Oyebade said.
Dale told Channel 2's Tom Regan drivers will be given plenty of warning with barrels, cones and sign posts to merge to the left as they approach the toll plaza from north and south. She said that should help reduce congestion. But some drivers are still concerned.
<a href="http://twitpic.com/dm58uo" title="Some changes tonight once tolls end on GA 400. It looks like ... on Twitpic"><img src="http://twitpic.com/show/thumb/dm58uo.gif" width="320" height="180" alt="Some changes tonight once tolls end on GA 400. It looks like ... on Twitpic"></a>
"That is going to slow down my commute for sure," said driver Ali Rauch.
The toll plaza opened 20 years ago and has collected $300 million in toll revenue and $11 million in fines, according to the State Road and Toll Authority.
Demolition of the toll plaza is scheduled to begin in mid-January and to be completed later in the year.
On Channel 2 Action News This Morning, Steve Gehlbach is talking to toll booth operators during their final hours on the job. Get live updates from the toll booth islands all morning long from 4:30 to 7 a.m.