The express lane bridge over the Canton Road Connector. I-75 is to the right. Construction on the Northwest Corridor reversible-lane project is expected to conclude in 2018. BOB ANDRES / BANDRES@AJC.COM
Photo: Bob Andres
Photo: Bob Andres

Will you pay to avoid traffic by using the new toll lanes?

At its most expensive, the toll on the  full 16-mile length of the I-85 HOT lane in Gwinnett has hit $11 – a record 69 cents per mile.

The toll on the lane varies according to how many vehicles are using it at any one time. And although some have sworn never to put one wheel in the toll lane, hundreds of thousands of others have taken the Peach Pass plunge. The I-85 HOT lanes are now so popular that the state has begun offering incentives to people to stay OUT of them at certain times.

Transportation planners are betting that their new mega-project, 30 miles of toll lanes being built alongside I-75 and I-575 in Cobb and Cherokee counties, will find the same acceptance.

The state hasn’t set the toll range yet for the new project. One early study assumed a floor of 50 cents per trip and a ceiling of 90 cents per mile, but the actual range may be different.

Coming this Sunday, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution will explore the Georgia Department of Transportation’s big gamble: the state is spending billions to create these new “Express Lanes,” and it’s assuming that drivers will pay to use them.

How much would you pay to use a special toll lane that enables you to avoid traffic? A dollar a mile? Ten cents? Nothing at all, or whatever it takes?

To see what your tax money is paying for, see last Sunday’s report on the state’s most expensive road project ever: the toll lanes on I-75/575.

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