AASHTO Journal, 12 August 2016
The Georgia Department of Transportation held a groundbreaking ceremony Aug. 3 on a project to build 10 more miles of tolled express lanes along Interstate 85 in Gwinnett County northeast of Atlanta.
That will extend the tolled lanes system beyond the current 16 miles of I-85 express lanes in DeKalb and Gwinnett counties that connect to the I-285 bypass around Atlanta.
The $178 million extension project will be carried out under a design-build contract, which DOTs often use to accelerate construction by combining the normally separate design and building phases through a single contractor group. The new lanes are expected to be completed by summer 2018.
It will be just one in a series of toll lane projects around Atlanta. GDOT said express lanes are currently under construction in a “Northwest Corridor” in Cobb and Cherokee counties, and an “I-75 South Metro” zone in Clayton and Henry counties.
“As the I-85 corridor continues to see steady growth, the need for enhanced mobility options is even more critical,” said GDOT Deputy Commissioner Mike Dover. “The new I-85 Express Lanes Extension will improve traffic flow and increase mobility options for people who travel the area, including motorists, transit and registered vanpool customers. This project addresses one of the region’s most congested commuter corridors.”
The I-85 work will add one express lane in each direction from Old Peachtree Road to Hamilton Mill Road. Once in use they will be managed with a variable priced tolling system operated by the State Road and Tollway Authority.
In addition to adding the toll lanes, the project will resurface existing lanes and build two new auxiliary lanes in congested areas of that corridor.