ARC OKs switch to toll lanes

LAWRENCEVILLE - A proposal to bring toll lanes to Interstate 85 cruised through the Atlanta Regional Commission this week.

A $110 million federal grant has been authorized to convert high-occupancy vehicle lanes to congestion-priced toll lanes from Chamblee-Tucker Road to Old Peachtree Road. But regional leaders had to add it to a transportation improvement plan required because of the Atlanta region's air quality issues.

With three more public hearings planned for later in June, officials have released few details on the proposal, which would allow cars with three people inside to continue to ride on the lanes for free.

While a toll amount has not been set, officials have said it would vary based on traffic, increasing during peak times.

"We're anxious to get it moving," Gwinnett Transportation Director Brian Allen said. "This was the next step in moving forward."

Allen said the project is on schedule for completion in 2011.