The Countdown Begins: 5 Things to Know About the GA 400 DemolitionPosted Sep 06, 2013 by Chris Tomlinson, Executive Director
By now, you may have heard that Georgia 400 toll collection will be ceasing this year. In keeping with his promise to end the tolls once the bond debt was paid, Governor Nathan Deal has announced that the 20-year-old toll will cease collection in late November, prior to the Thanksgiving holiday (weather permitting). For the almost 120,000 commuters who use the system each weekday, this is big news.
Completed in 1993, the Georgia 400 tollway has provided easy access to downtown Atlanta from north Fulton and Forsyth Counties, and in turn, those areas have realized incredible growth. As it has evolved from “the road to nowhere” to Georgia’s Hospitality Highway, the GA 400 extension has helped to create a vibrant corridor where metro Atlantans live, work and play. Transportation projects funded by the GA 400 toll have also improved mobility in the corridor.
As we move quickly toward the end of toll collection, here are five things you should know now to prepare for smooth travel ahead:
Access Continues: GA 400 will remain open throughout the toll collection end and toll plaza demolition. Specific plans for the demolition of the toll booths are still being finalized, but preliminary plans call for all traffic to shift into three general purpose lanes in each direction where Peach Pass customers currently use the electronic “Cruise Lanes.”. This matches up with the three lanes that are available now as you approach and depart the toll plaza.
Plan Ahead: While lanes will remain open and all efforts will be made for the least impact on traffic flow, there may be the typical delays due to construction, so there may be times when you should allow for extra time. Preliminary construction activities will begin in October 2013. However, once traffic is shifted to the three general purpose lanes, no heavy demolition work is expected to occur during the winter holidays. To avoid potential delays, we encourage you to take this opportunity to try a commute alternative, or adjust your travel plans. Georgia Commute Options, a free service, can help.
Keep Your Peach Pass: While no toll will be charged on the GA 400 extension after November, your Peach Pass account can still be used on on the existing I-85 Express Lanes and future toll projects in Georgia. Since your account is only charged when you use a Peach Pass facility, keeping your Peach Pass account open can be a great safety net for ensuring more a reliable travel time on the Express Lanes should you need it.
Demolition Takes Time: Actual demolition of the toll booths will take place between January and spring 2014, occurring in multiple stages to ensure safe and complete removal of both the toll booths and the underground infrastructure. The same three lanes in each direction will remain open before, during and after demolition. When the work is completed, it will be no different than driving on any other three-lane highway without a toll plaza.
- Stay Informed: In addition to this new blog, Toll Talk, you can find drawings and more details on the demolition project on the SRTA website. For the most up-to-date information, sign up for our monthly Peach Pass Press eNewsletter, and join our conversations on Facebook and Twitter.