by: Tom Regan Updated:ATLANTA —
The elimination of toll collection on Georgia 400 next month is anticipated to increase traffic volume 10 to 18 percent, primarily on the highway inside Interstate 285.
"We try our best to predict commuter behavior, but in this case, we're not entirely sure
who's going to take 400 and who isn't going to take it," said Georgia DOT spokeswoman Natalie Dale.
Dale told Channel 2's Tom Regan many commuters who avoided the toll may now take advantage of the free ride.
Other commuters may avoid the stretch of 400 fearing added congestion. Dale said there are also other options available.
'If you're nervous about the potential increase in traffic, you can look at some other commute options, develop a car pool system, take the bus, or take MARTA," Dale said.
The new Buckhead Interchange, scheduled to open in January, will also feed additional traffic onto northbound Georgia 400.
The State Road & Tollway Authority said uncollected tolls will amount to an estimated $50,000 a day and $20 million a year.
Most drivers paying tolls Tuesday said they are looking for forward to the shutdown of the toll plaza.
Dozens of cashiers and supervisory staff that will be displaced will receive job placement assistance from the private company that hired them and the state.
One worker told Regan what she will miss most about her job.
"I'm going to miss the customers. We have our favorites. And they're going to miss us," toll cashier Maryanne Sweet said.