Coronavirus: Traffic down as much as 50% on metro Atlanta highways

Traffic light on the Downtown Connector Tuesday afternoon. Even at morning rush hour, average speeds were 60 mph.

Metro Atlanta commuters hoping for relief from some of the world's worst traffic have found it in an unlikely source – the coronavirus outbreak.

The Georgia Department of Transportation reports a dramatic reduction in traffic Tuesday vs. a typical weekday on many of the region’s major highways. Depending on the corridor, volumes were down as much as 50 percent compared to a typical weekday.

Traffic volumes on southbound I-75 in Cobb County were down 15 to 20 percent during morning rush hour, said GDOT spokeswoman Natalie Dale. Traffic on the eastbound Perimeter between Ga. 400 and I-20 was down 20 to 25 percent.

Traffic volumes were down 15 to 20 percent on I-75 northbound in Henry County, 30 to 35 percent on southbound Ga. 400 and 30 to 50 percent on I-20 westbound coming into the city.

Maybe eeriest of all: The average speed on the Downtown Connector was 60 mph.

“We are experiencing zero congestion during rush hour,” Dale said. “But Gwinnett is a bit of an anomaly.”

In fact, traffic on I-85 south was higher than normal. Dale could offer no explanation.

But it’s clear that folks who do have to venture out on metro Atlanta highways are catching a break. All it took was a pandemic and a grinding halt to some sectors of the economy.

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