More than half of a planned 120-mile network of metro Atlanta toll lanes has been completed.

NEW DETAILS: 120 miles of toll lanes in metro Atlanta? Here's the map

As The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported this week, some residents fear that new toll lanes coming to I-285 will mean noise, lost property and declining property values in their neighborhoods. 

To which some metro Atlanta residents have responded: What I-285 express lanes? 

Plans for the new lanes have been public for years. But not everyone is up to speed. So we thought the map above (from a recent Georgia Department of Transportation presentation) would be a useful primer on the state’s plans for a 120-mile network of toll lanes across metro Atlanta. 

More than half the toll-lane network is already open. It includes lanes on I-75 and I-575 in Cobb and Cherokee countiesI-85 in Gwinnett and DeKalb counties and I-75 in Clayton and Henry counties

Next up: toll lanes on Ga. 400 from the North Springs MARTA station in Fulton County to north of McFarland Parkway in Forsyth County. Construction on those lanes is set to begin in 2021, with completion in 2024. 

Finally comes the I-285 lanes. The project is so big GDOT plans to split the work into three segments: 

  • Construction on the eastside lanes (from I-20 to Henderson Road) will begin in 2022 and finish in 2025. 
  • Construction on the westside lanes (from I-20 to Paces Ferry Road) will begin in 2023 and finish in 2026. 
  • Construction on the “top end” lanes (from Henderson Road to Paces Ferry Road) will begin in 2023 and finish in 2028. The project also includes new toll lanes on Ga. 400 from I-285 to the North Springs MARTA station. 

Not included in that 120 miles: proposed lanes on I-20 outside the Perimeter to the east and west of Atlanta and on I-75 from the end of the existing lanes to the Perimeter. Those are long-range projects, with no timetable yet. 

So why build toll lanes instead of more “free” lanes? GDOT says free lanes fill up almost as soon as they open, but it can manage traffic with fluctuating tolls in the new “express” lanes. You can learn more here.

You can learn more about the I-285 lanes – and the concerns of some residents – here.

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About the Author

David Wickert
David Wickert
David Wickert writes about transportation issues for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He previously worked for newspapers in Washington state, Illinois...
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