The collapse of a wall on a stretch of I-75 in Cobb County should not affect the opening of new toll lanes later this summer, the Georgia Department of Transportation said.
Those comments from GDOT spokeswoman Natalie Dale came hours after officials learned a retaining wall collapsed onto an unfinished portion of the Northwest Corridor Express Lanes along I-75 and Windy Hill Road in Cobb.
“We don’t expect this to have any bearing on when the lanes open in the next two months,” GDOT spokeswoman Natalie Dale said in a video posted on the agency’s official Twitter account. “But of course, we will not open these lanes if we’re not 100 percent confident that they’re safe for travel.”
Officials believe the wall collapsed between Friday night and Saturday morning, but it was not discovered until Monday morning. Because “this is still an active construction zone,” no vehicles were on the highway at the time of the collapse and there was no impact to traffic during Monday morning’s commute.
“We do have our crews on site to take a closer look at this wall, to do an investigation of what happened with this specific stretch of wall, why it collapsed, and how we’re going to prevent this from happening when the project opens in the next two months,” Dale said.
Drivers in Cobb and Cherokee counties are eagerly awaiting the opening the Northwest Corridor Express Lanes. Once finished, the lanes will stretch 30 miles on I-75 and I-575. State transportation officials say the limited access “express lanes” will whisk drivers from Acworth or Canton to the Perimeter in minutes, even if traffic in the regular lanes is at a standstill.
The project is part of a planned 120-mile system of metro Atlanta toll lanes that state transportation officials say will make commuting easier and more predictable for those willing to pay by the mile. That system already exists on parts of I-85 in Gwinnett County and I-75 in Clayton and Henry counties.