Express toll lanes on the Southside 50 percent complete

I-75 Express Lanes as seen from the WSB Skycopter.

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I-75 Express Lanes as seen from the WSB Skycopter.

The I-75 South Metro Express lanes recently reached an important milestone -- they are now 50 percent complete.

The $223 million project is scheduled to open early next year.

The express lanes will be the first new tolled lanes to be built in metro Atlanta since the High Occupancy Vehicle lane on I-85 in Gwinnett County was converted into a High Occupancy Toll lane (HOT lane) in 2011.

It is also the first segment of a planned network of toll lanes that will one day span a much larger portion of the city, including I-75 and I-575 in Cobb and Cherokee counties, the top half of I-285 and Ga. 400.

The South Metro Express Lanes project adds two reversible toll lanes along a 12-mile segment of I-75 between McDonough Road and Stockbridge Highway.

The Express Lanes will be separated from regular lanes by a barrier and will be reversible, carrying traffic northbound in the morning toward Atlanta and southbound in the evening. The price per mile will be calibrated up or down based on the amount of congestion in the lane to keep traffic flowing at speeds of 45 mph or greater.

Since the start of construction in October 2014, crews have:

  • Laid more than 167,070 tons of asphalt.
  • Constructed five of eight sound walls
  • Installed 50 percent of the tolling system technology for the Express Lanes system.
  • Made significant progress on the construction of bridges, including the Mt. Carmel Bridge, Jonesboro Road Access Bridge, Flippen Road Bridge and I-675 Flyover Bridge.

In order to use the lanes, drivers will need to register for a Peach Pass, which is mounted on the inside windshield. Georgia's Peach Pass can also be used on toll lanes in Florida and North Carolina, and efforts are underway to expand partnerships with other states.