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

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

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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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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