Toll workers recall crazy stories as Ga. 400 tolls come to an end

by: Dave Huddleston Updated:

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ATLANTA -- - On Friday Nov. 22, you will no longer have to pay a toll on Georgia 400.

But did you know there is a 600-foot long tunnel that runs the width of the expressway?

The tunnel is used for cashiers to get back and forth. Many of the cashiers are out of a job come Friday, but they have interesting stories about the motorists that drive up and down 400.

Michael Bent has worked for State Road and Tollway authority for 17 years. He told Channel 2's Dave Huddleston what sticks out in his memory are the toll booth battles.

"First car comes through to pay his toll and he's taking his time and the person behind him may touch his horn, and he gets out of the car and walks to his car. I've seen fights start like that more than one time," Bent said.

Bent, now a manager for with the Tollway Authority, said he's not sure what he'll do come Friday.

Twenty feet below the toll booths is a 600-foot long, 8-foot by 8-foot tunnel.

"The tunnel was constructed to give safe passage to the toll cashiers as they go back and forth," said Bert Brantley with the Tollway Authority.

It's also where your money is collected. You drop your 50 cents into the basket at the toll booth and the change continues down to the tunnel and is collected in a blue metal cabinet called the vault.

Armed guards collect the 100,000 coins every day.

"If you can hear one set a coins drop, you can imagine 14 sets of machines, quarters over and over, it gets pretty deafening," Brantley said.

Officials said the tunnel will stay intact when the toll booths come down and workers like Roslyn McDonald leave to find other jobs.

McDonald told Huddleston she'll miss her coworkers, the usual customers who came through her booth, and also the naked man on the highway.

"He came out of the passenger seat. The driver pulls off. He takes off his clothes and he's running down the freeway," McDonald said about one of her craziest memories of working as a toll collector.