by: Lori Geary Updated:
HENRY COUNTY, Ga. - Traffic relief will soon be on the way for commuters south of Atlanta, but it won’t be free.
The state's first reversible toll lanes will stretch 12 miles on Interstate 75 between state Route 155/McDonough Road to state Route 138 in Henry and Clayton counties.
Channel 2's Lori Geary talked to state officials, who announced Monday that construction will start later this year in the heavily congested area.
Commuter Bathscheba Victor told Geary, “(It’s the) worst traffic. It's a parking lot every day, especially rush hour after work. Don't even go out if you don't have to.”
Construction is set to begin on the 12-mile stretch of new lanes, but you'll have to pay a toll with a Peach Pass to use them. Buses and carpool vans won’t have to pay the toll.
“It will be a variable toll based on the demand for the lanes at that particular time,” said Jill Goldberg, with the Georgia Department of Transportation.
The toll will be calculated similar to the way managed toll lanes are on Interstate 85 north of Atlanta, but the difference is the current HOV lanes will not be converted. They will be additional lanes built in the median. The cost of the project is $175 million.
“This is the first new capacity we've had in the metro Atlanta area in a long time,” added Goldberg.
During morning rush hour, the two lanes will be northbound toward Atlanta. In the afternoon, express lanes will only be available southbound toward Clayton and Henry counties.
DOT officials said during the two years of construction, drivers can expect more delays, but because crews will be working in the median, they can use the shoulders as buffers and won't have to shut down actual lanes.
The project is expected to be complete in late 2016.
C.W. Matthews was awarded the contract to design the project.