Updated: 3:00 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 6, 2013 | Posted: 2:20 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 6, 2013
Plans set for end of Ga. 400 tolls
This is a rendering distributed by the State Road and Tollway Authority in March 2013 of the Ga. 400 toll plaza as it will direct traffic after the toll lifts in Nov. 2013, until demolition of the toll plaza is complete.
The end of toll collection on GA 400 will start on Nov. 21, weather permitting. Demolition of the toll plaza will begin in January, state transportation officials announced Tuesday. In July 2012, Gov. Deal promised the state would pay off its bond debt and end tolls on GA 400 by December 2013.
In a few months, Ga. 400 drivers can finally stop hoarding their quarters.
State transportation officials announced Tuesday that a contractor has been selected to dismantle the highway’s toll plaza beginning in January and reaffirmed plans to end toll collections a week before Thanksgiving.
Southeastern Site Development Inc., of Newnan, was chosen as the lowest of eight bidders to tear down the Ga. 400 toll plaza — a year-long task projected to cost $3.5 million. The company could start setting up operations at the site as early as next month.
Carnell Roberts, 32, who uses the highway to commute between Atlanta and Alpharetta, voiced what many road warriors may be thinking: “It’s about time!”
“I would love to save 50 cents every time I drive,” Roberts said.
With the awarding of the contract, Gov. Nathan Deal is making good on a promise he made last summer to pay off the state’s bond debt and end tolls on Ga. 400 by December 2013.
“I acted as quickly as the state’s contractual obligations allowed to bring down the Ga. 400 toll,” Deal said in a press release. “I pledged during my campaign for governor that I’d bring down the toll as the state promised commuters it would do when it opened the toll more than two decades ago. Today’s announcement is a big step toward making that happen.”
Completed in 1993, the Ga. 400 extension is used by about 119,000 people on weekdays. The toll generates about $59,000 a day at a cost of 50 cents per vehicle. The collected tolls have been used over the years to pay down bond debt, operate and maintain the road, and fund overall operations for the State Road and Tollway Authority.
The date for ending collection is tentatively set for Nov. 21. However, officials cautioned that bad weather could delay initial work and push that date back a day or two.
Preliminary plans call for traffic to shift into three general purpose lanes where motorists currently use the electronic tolling lanes, to allow for demolition. Once the cash booths and the overhead structure overhead are removed, traffic will shift over again so the rest of the toll plaza can be dismantled.
No heavy demolition work is expected to take place during the winter holidays.
For more details on the project, go to www.georgiatolls.com/programs/ga-400/.
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