Breaking News

UGA's Todd Gurley to seek reinstatement October 22, 2014

0

Gwinnett's toll lanes at capacity

NORCROSS -- While Gwinnett's HOT lanes have reached their capacity, Gov. Nathan Deal said he is still concerned about the congestion caused by the conversion of the carpool lanes on Interstate 85.

Deal spoke about the toll lanes at a Norcross business opening Thursday, saying he learned that the lanes reached their capacity last week.

"It appears it is working, and it is achieving what it was intended to do," said the governor, who intervened in the operations days after they began in October.

At his behest, the toll rates were lowered and the state applied to federal officials for a waiver that would allow two-person carpools to use the lane for free. That application was denied, and officials have sought reconsideration. The Georgia Department of Transportation is also working to place another access point along I-85 north, at the governor's request.

Deal said Thursday he was not finished, despite the news of the success.

"We'll push for continued relief of congestion with DOT," he said.

Malika Reed Wilkins, a spokeswoman for the State Road and Tollway Authority, said usage has increased steadily over the past two and a half months.

"With the steady increase in usage in the Express Lanes, the lanes have reached capacity during morning peak hours with over 1,200 to 1,400 registered vehicles in the lane per hour for the past several weeks," she said. "In many instances we've seen volumes as high as approximately 2,000 vehicles per hour during morning peak hours."

According to statistics, usage has peaked at nearly 12,000 registered vehicles on weekdays.

-

-

Comments

R 2 years, 10 months ago

HOT lanes at capacity Mission Accomplished!
Now where to hang the banner?

3

hpytravlr 2 years, 10 months ago

Who says? The Government? Move back to Russia

0

JohnGalt 2 years, 10 months ago

LOL, it's a good thing the rest of us don't measure success the same way that the government does. It achieved what it was intended to do? LMAO, it certainly did didn't it! Always good to hear from that government mouthpiece, Malika Reed Wilkins. I'm working on an exit strategy now.

1

huskypals 2 years, 10 months ago

Lets see how many of those cars are actually paying. Remember they have given thousands of free passes to government officials and public works people. Add the carpoolers and I will bet that less than half are paying. For the tollway authority to say it is a success without some relief in the increased traffic is criminal. Just remember this when they ask for the T-SPLOST in the summer. Keep the hot lanes and NO SPLOST!

3

juanita1 2 years, 10 months ago

The "relevant" study that still needs doing is the one which calculates how much bloated I-85 commuter traffic due to the HOT lanes is spilling over onto surface roads and residential streets and complicating other people's lives. Then, lets talk about "success" rates!

2

kevin 2 years, 10 months ago

More reason to NOT vote for another 1% road tax. The more we suffer in our pocketbooks, the more we suffer on the roads. There is no solution to the congestion unless you start building roads on top of each other. You have poor planning and zoning exceptions and this is what you end up with, congestion. Live with it or move somewhere else. The are NOT going to solve this problem by throwing your tax money at it to a bunch of hungry politicians and dept. heads.

2

jack 2 years, 10 months ago

Since the lane is now at capacity, we should convert a second lane to HOT. Nothing breeds success like success!

0

gcroberson 2 years, 10 months ago

Typical response from programmers or consultants.... functioning as designed. Either the design is flawed or the parameters for success were set artificially low. An once of common sense will let a person know that the lanes are capable of at least a little more traffic? Shame on anyone for accepting this as an acceptable response

0

OrganicGrl 2 years, 10 months ago

I don't think it is about the HOT lanes and traffic. Traffic was terrible when the HOT lanes were HOV lanes. I think people that are complaining are the ones who were in the HOV and now have to pay for the HOT lanes. Bottom line is everyone can't use the HOV/HOT lane.
What they need to do is build more lanes to ease all traffic congestion or build another interstate to reduce the traffic for I 85 period.

There is no way around it, Gwinnett county has too many residents/commuters getting on the interstate at the same time for work to being on ONE interstate.

2

dan 2 years, 10 months ago

Because people would complain about having an Interstate built in their backyard and it would be extremely expensive. Who know? It may happen one day in our lifetime.

1

ACC12_SEC13Booster 2 years, 10 months ago

They tried back to build the road that you are talking about back in the early 2000s but the proposal did not go over very well with the public causing then superlong-ruling Democrats (140 years of rule) to get kicked out of office by voters and lose control of state government (for good).

The name of that proposed road was the Northern Arc and as a result of the intense public anger over the proposed road, which the public thought was nothing more than a big giveaway to land developers for them to spread more of the intense post-suburban sprawl that Gwinnett struggles with, the proposed road, concept, the name 'Northern Arc' and any references to it are more politically-radioactive than Chernobyl.

Governor Sonny Perdue killed the Northern Arc Bypass for good in 2003 in what was one of his first acts in office. Good luck getting any politicians down at the Gold Dome to support a resurrection of a road project that was as unpopular and as much of a political lightning rod as the old Northern Arc Bypass.

Oh, make no mistake, bureaucrats at GDOT have tried to resurrect the Northern Arc under a new name about 20 miles-plus further out, deeper into the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, but politicians won't touch the thing with a ten-thousand foot long pole, much less even acknowledge the existence of any road proposal that remotely resembles a new 'Northern Arc'.

0

Mack711 2 years, 10 months ago

Keep in mind that not all on I85 is from Gwinnett. However we do have a lot in Gwinnett that use 85. Many are from the Northeren counties and othere passing through. you do raise a good point.

1

OrganicGrl 2 years, 10 months ago

You are right they are many who live in the northern counties...

I am sorry but I just don't think one lane made the big difference in worse of traffic when it was already restricted for users. Think about it...How can 1 lane damage traffic when you already have at least 5 unrestricted lanes to use.

0

Mack711 2 years, 10 months ago

If you take a full 6 inch water pipe and reduce it to a 4 inch pipe water will back up and will not flow to capacity. However if you have a 4 inch full pipe into a 6 inch pipe there is more space for more water. Same priciple applies here. You just spread it out over a larger area with no restrictions.

1

ACC12_SEC13Booster 2 years, 10 months ago

One lane did make a difference because converting the two-person HOV lane to a tolled three-person lane pushed most of the two-person carpools out of that one lane into the other five general purpose lanes. What made matters worse was that most of the people who used to ride in the two-person carpools stopped carpooling and started riding alone since they could not use the carpool lane anymore without paying a toll adding even more single-occupant (one-person) vehicle traffic to the roads and making traffic worse.

0

ACC12_SEC13Booster 2 years, 10 months ago

OrganicGrl: You are very correct that this isn't necessarily all about the HOT Lanes and traffic. The talk inside of state government is that the powers-that-be have come to their own conclusion that the I-85 right-of-way south of the 316 interchange is built-out and they have decided that they will not be adding anymore general purpose lanes to the road to help traffic flow better.

Instead, the state has decided that they are going to "remedy" the problem by charging tolls on existing lanes and pushing single-occupant vehicle (SOV/one passenger automobiles) off of I-85 and onto local surface roads (like Buford Hwy, Lawrenceville Hwy, etc), figuring that lots of people will not want to pay the tolls to ride on the highway that used to be toll-free.

This is all intentionally being done as part of a long-term strategy to force local traffic off of the Interstates to make people use transit and to make room for increased heavy freight truck traffic on I-85 between the Gulf Coast and the Northeastern U.S. This is also being done to make Atlanta look even more attractive for international investors and venture capitalists who don't mind paying tolls in return for making billions off of potential investments.

1

Dayna 2 years, 10 months ago

Sorry, but I don't believe their statistics as to capacity usage. Now the Governor has asked for another access point? The project that would give most positive impact to Atlanta's traffic is a highway to connect 85 and 75 north of the perimeter. It would reduce traffic and increase safety on the 75 and 85 connectors to I-285 and would do a lot for the bottleneck from Gwinnett County to the I-285 access. It could also eliminate the need for those HOT lanes in Gwinnett. They seem to create more safety issues with the lane changes and different rules from HOT to HOV.

2

OrganicGrl 2 years, 10 months ago

That will be a great idea and have exits in between 400 North. That will relieve traffic not only on I85 but 285 West bound where the traffic is horrendous as well towards 400 and 75.

0

CD 2 years, 10 months ago

The Republican delegation of gluttonous heathens under the gold dome are now salivating at the prospect of additional HOTlanes throughout metro Atlanta. Once in place, look for the following:

1) Continual rate hikes (hopefully we can choose a "toll marketer" from Wall Street or China or perhaps even India. We will have a menu of rate plans to choose from, this being a "free market" and all: High, Higher, Rapacious. I'm thinking of the old Mel Brooks movie now: "proceed to ludicrous speed!”

2) Privatization! See above.

Bottom line: most of the cowards are silent on the issue, knowing their freezers are stocked full.....of cash. The citizens need to remember them come election time.

0

dan 2 years, 10 months ago

kevin. More HOT lanes are not going to be built funded by the 1% TSPLOST that is being voted on next summer. You say that the only thing that will help is building new roads, which is what TSPLOST will do along with widening several bottlenecks on aerterial roads. You should look that the list of projects for it. If this doesn't pass next year we will continue to see companies overlook Atlanta for relocation.

1

R 2 years, 10 months ago

And no funds will go to MARTA ... and on, and on, and on. All this tax will "buy" in the first round is another layer of government patterned on the unresponsive SRTA. Vote no and get our "leadership" to think for a change.

0

dan 2 years, 10 months ago

You must be uniformed. Hundreds of millions of dollars will be used to add a MARTA line to Emory and add a few lines on the Beltline.

0

R 2 years, 10 months ago

You are absolutely correct - Sorry I should have intensified my original sarcasm.

0

R 2 years, 10 months ago

Sorry my sarcastic button was stuck in lower case... The road solutions are intentionally inadequate to establish this as an long term, ongoing, never ending revenue source.

0

ACC12_SEC13Booster 2 years, 10 months ago

Dan: You can't say that more HOT lanes will not be funded with the T-SPLOST with certainty as there is an entry on the final project list that designates $95 million for a not necessarily specifically defined "I-85 North Corridor Transit Study".

Now seeing as though the current HOT lanes on I-85 cost just under $70 million dollars total and leftover $40 million for increased bus service on I-85 from the original grant of $110 million and seeing as though the technology to enforce new HOT lanes is largely in place with the sensors, it's not at all unconceivable that that about $50-60 million could be spent to convert another lane in each direction for tolls and that plenty of money would be left over for a thorough "study" of transit options in the I-85 Corridor.

The non-specificity of that particular entry on the transportation list leaves a lot of room for doubt that no T-SPLOST funds will be used to fund more HOT Lanes.

0

Mack711 2 years, 10 months ago

Who and how do they determine what is 'capacity" What is the formula that they use. Most times we cross 85 at Beaver Ruin both HOT lanes seem empty. What we will never find out is how much money is generated and how much money is being transfered from GA. 400? When we get that informtion then we will find out if this is a sucess. When you claim sucess you better have all the facts for all to see and able to prove them with out a question.

0

dan 2 years, 10 months ago

I'm curious to see what the average usage was before the HOT lanes were added. I wonder how different or similar the numbers are.

1

tgrip 2 years, 10 months ago

@Dayna, they did have an "outer loop" drawn up from HWY 316 to I-75 and even went so far as to purchase the land to build the interstate but something happened.

Democrats were elected to run the House and Senate at the Federal level and imagine this, the environment not the amount of traffic on the roads won out. That's right the ENVIRONMENT needed to be considered and too many woodpeckers and deer would lose their homes, so the funding was x-ed.

So now people sit in traffic and scream "I'm not paying!" and they scream "Evil Republicans did this to me!!!"

However, I enjoy getting to work on time and saving a tank of gas a week in the HOT lane. You kids keep sitting over their belly aching, my commutes have been really nice.

1

ACC12_SEC13Booster 2 years, 10 months ago

It wasn't Democrats in Congress that killed the Outer Perimeter and Northern Arc.

It was public outrage at the $2 billion pricetag of a road that was perceived by the public to help developers spread Gwinnett-style post-suburban sprawl that killed the road, a road that had heavy backing from Georgia DEMOCRATS and the same overdevelopment and land spectulation interests (Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce, Atlanta Regional Commission, etc) who are now pushing the T-SPLOST.

In hindsight, that $2 billion pricetag of the old Northern Arc now seems like a bargain compared to the $16 billion that the state wants to spend on HOT Lanes, an amount that is actually just the tip-of-the-iceberg of what the state plans to spend on these land developer and spectulation-driven transportation initiatives.

1

joeshere 2 years, 10 months ago

I'm still refusing to call them HOT or HOV lanes. I prefer TCL. (Traffic Compression Lanes)

0

Mack711 2 years, 10 months ago

NOW THAT IS A GOOD NAME!!! This is exactly what HOT lanes do.

0

ACC12_SEC13Booster 2 years, 10 months ago

That's a good name and it's so true as they are intentionally trying to force automobile traffic off of I-85 onto local roads to prime the pump for people to use transit...transit lines that don't exist yet.

Nothing like government at "work"...

1

ACC12_SEC13Booster 2 years, 10 months ago

Dayna: You hit the nail right on the head as there have been serious discussions about eventually having as many as THREE HOT Lanes in each direction on I-85. The current HOT Lanes on I-85 are just a test run for the implementation of more HOT lanes on I-85.

1

dan 2 years, 10 months ago

Data on the HOT lanes have been released and yes, the average speed is over 45mph even during peak hours. Try doing a little research before you make comments that are not true.

0

anetcher 2 years, 10 months ago

All I can speak of is the fact that I am sitting in the traffic during that time of day and when I am doing zero miles an hour for 10-15 minutes total during the trip and only occasionally reaching 50 M.P.H. during my trip I know that is not an average of 45 M.P.H. Never did I say that the overall average is less than 45 M.P.H. just during that part of the day. With that being said, as more people use these lanes the average speed will drop below 45 M.P.H.

0

anetcher 2 years, 10 months ago

Actually the data does support my statement as can be viewed here: http://www.georgiatolls.com/assets/docs/Commute_Data_Release_120511.pdf

The chart shows that on Monday the 28th of November that the average speed in the morning was 37 M.P.H. and Thursday the 1st of December was 43 M.P.H. Once the capacity of the lanes is exceeded these numbers will continue to drop.

1

anetcher 2 years, 10 months ago

I wonder what they are doing too? Usually when I pass them they are browsing the web or playing solitaire on their laptops.

0

HonestIngine 2 years, 10 months ago

Deal's administration is truly not a government for the people, rather a government for a few of the people. his own cronnies... Deal needs to be gone at next election along with our local representatives here in Gwinnett that allowed this to happen, Rice, Brooks, etc...

1

ACC12_SEC13Booster 2 years, 10 months ago

HongestIngine: State Senators Renee Unterman and Curt Thompson notwithstanding, most of our local representatives did not just allow this to happen, but have been in on this from the start. I just finished watching a television news interview with State Senator Jeff Mullis, Chairman of the State Senate Transportation Committee, who is going around talking about how big of a "success" he thinks the I-85 HOT Lanes are.

If you're not familiar with Mullis, he is one of the state's top elected officials on transportation. Whatever is going on at the state level with transportation he is usually actively in on it.

Just the fact that Mullis, who claims the HOT Lanes as "his baby", is going around crowing about how much of a smashing success he thinks the HOT Lanes are signifies that these lanes were not just the idea of the bureaucrats at SRTA or even GDOT, but are actively being backed and pushed by elected politicians at the highest level of state government as Mullis is almost as high up as you can go up the transportation chain in the Statehouse short of the Governor.

1

Mack711 2 years, 10 months ago

Where is Jeff Mullis from do not think he is from this area? if so he would be hearing from his citizens?

0

ACC12_SEC13Booster 2 years, 10 months ago

Jeff Mullis is from Chickamauga, in the very northwest corner of the state right outside of Chattanooga. It's a part of the state where they could care less about the HOT Lanes in Metro Atlanta.

In fact, something that they are kind of big on up there in that part of the state is being connected to Atlanta via high-speed intercity and commuter rail, which is another of Mullis' even bigger pet projects. Through their estimation, charging tolls on existing lanes can only help future demand for rail transit of all kinds, including Mullis' other "babies" high-speed and commuter rail.

0

ACC12_SEC13Booster 2 years, 10 months ago

Also, I'm not so sure that the I-85 HOT Lanes are having as negative of an effect on the upcoming T-SPLOST as they should have. The only way to even attempt to stop the HOT Lanes from spreading and get rid them may be filing a class-action lawsuit like Howard Rodgers of stolenlanes.org suggests as the state intends to spin this debacle into passage of the T-SPLOST which will be used to convert another lane on each direction of I-85 to yet another HOT Lane.

1

Mack711 2 years, 10 months ago

The question now is will they be selling any more peach passes if they are truly at capacity. All of us have driven over 85 when there were only a few cars in that lane. Do they calcluate the MPH in a 24 hour period or only say beteween 6AM to 9AM or from 4PM to 7PM? would like to know the exact time. As for a class-action suit, where do we sign up for that one.

0

ACC12_SEC13Booster 2 years, 10 months ago

They are using this manufactured positive spin of supposed capacity in the HOT Lanes as excuses to: A) raise the top price to use the lanes back up to $5.50 one-way for the entire length of the lanes and B) eventually convert two more lanes to another HOT Lane on each direction of I-85.

hpytravir mentioned the idea of voting for Democrats as a way of sending a message to our corrupt Republican state leadership. But that wouldn't necessarily work as the Dems would likely be even worse. Instead of seeing tolls go up on three lanes on each direction of I-85 with the Repubs in charge, we would likely see tolls applied to ALL lanes of I-85 with the Dems in charge.

Like I stated before, the only choice that we seem to have at the ballot box is REALLY BAD and MUCH WORSE.

Republicans LOVE "congestion pricing" because it gives them the chance to take more of the taxpayers' money without being accused of officially raising taxes.

Democrats LOVE "congestion pricing" even more because it can be used as a way to force people to ride mass transit, so whatever we are getting now with the Republicans in charge would be multiplied with the Democrats in charge.

1

hpytravlr 2 years, 10 months ago

The lanes do not allow access for Gwinnettians and discriminate aginst us for the Rednecks of Hall County. They get rewarded for living further out? Uh. Where is the Governor and Lt. Governor from? 1 million votes for a Democrat next election will solve Gwinnett's headache. Then we can go back to our party politics.

0

ACC12_SEC13Booster 2 years, 10 months ago

Voting for Democrats would be even worse. Democrats would not hesitate to put tolls on existing lanes as a way of compelling people to ride mass transit and raise your taxes while doing so without even bringing it up for a sham of a vote.

Democrats talk about it all of the time: "Charge tolls to drive into the city, extend MARTA into Cobb and Gwinnett Counties and make them pay for it and use it and on and on..."

Congestion pricing, as they call it, is right up the alley of the anti-road expansion Intown environmentalists who think that anyone who chooses to live outside of I-285 should be punished severely for doing so.

In this case (and many others) choosing between a Republican and a Democrat is like making the choice between REALLY, REALLY BAD and MUCH WORSE.

0

hpytravlr 2 years, 10 months ago

I said only one election. Democrats held onto this state for 150 years and never did that so what do you base it on? Sonny Perdue is the one who lied and refused to take the toll off of 400.

0

ACC12_SEC13Booster 2 years, 10 months ago

I base it off of the fact that Nathan Deal and Sonny Perdue are former Democrats who only changed parties so that they could stay in power when they felt that the political winds were a-changing and saw the handwriting on the wall that Dems were on their way out of power in the late 1990's.

The Democrats may not have brought us HOT Lanes converted out of existing toll-free HOV-2 Lanes, but the Democrats did bring us MARTA, the Georgia 400 Toll Road, the long time and historic culture of bureaucratic and political corruption that has rendered the Georgia Department of Transportation virtually all but completely useless today under the political rule of a bunch of Democrats-turned-Republicans.

The Democrats also attempted to bring us an Outer Perimeter/Northern Arc that, instead of helping Atlanta traffic like an outer beltway should, would have created more even more of the traffic and post-suburban sprawl that Gwinnett struggles with today by being created solely for the purpose of helping spectulators and commercial real estate developers conduct a land grab for continued profits from building and selling that post-suburban sprawl.

Democrat voters may also help to bring us the T-SPLOST that will help to fund more of the HOT Lanes that Gwinnettians have come to know and love so much and bring MARTA light rail or heavy rail to the county. The T-SPLOST wasn't setup to give people a voice as to whether they wanted to raise their own taxes. The T-SPLOST was setup so that Republicans could use Liberal and Moderate voters to raise taxes indirectly so that the GOP wouldn't be accused of voting directly to raise taxes to fund mass transit by their OTP Conservative and Libertarian political base which is full of voters who hate mass transit.

0

ACC12_SEC13Booster 2 years, 10 months ago

How much do you want to bet that Governor Deal and Lt. Governor Cagle have become very frequent and dedicated users of the I-85 HOT Lanes in their frequent travels between the Gold Dome and Hall County?

People weren't kidding when they talked about the power and influence of the "Hall County Mafia" over state and regional politics.

1

ACC12_SEC13Booster 2 years, 10 months ago

Remember that Governor Deal and former Governor Perdue used to be Democrats, so no matter whether people decide to vote for Republicans or Democrats, it's like people are voting for two of the same thing. It doesn't matter who people vote for, it's still corruption, the only difference is whether there is an (R) or a (D) in front of it.

1

CD 2 years, 10 months ago

We have HOT lanes, the garbage fiasco, tax hikes, Kenerly fiasco, Bannister's foolishness, etc. because we do not VOTE. The people need to exercise their right to vote and vote the incumbent out EACH AND EVRY TIME, regardless of the (R) or (D) that precedes their little name. Until the heathens understand they are accountable to the public, the above schemes and shams will continue. If it is an incumbant, vote it out.

1

ACC12_SEC13Booster 2 years, 10 months ago

CD-

Gwinnettians may not turnout in high or even moderate numbers for local elections, but Gwinnett voters did turnout in relatively very large numbers for the Gubernatorial elections in 2010 as Nathan Dean received more votes in Gwinnett than he received from voters in any other county in Georgia in both the GOP Primary and General Election.

And yet, even though Deal received more support in Gwinnett than he received from any other county in the state of Georgia, winning the election on the strength of Gwinnett voters in both the primary and the general, how do we get thanked for our overwhelming support of the Governor? By being recipients of a social engineering traffic experiment in which exorbitant tolls are placed on our main major artery at the behest of the Governor that we helped to elect and couldn't have won the election without us.

0

CD 2 years, 10 months ago

@ACC: agreed. I'll do my part to move Deal along into retirement.

1

Sign in to comment