LAWRENCEVILLE -- A grandiose idea to relieve traffic on Interstate 85 may be closer than many thought earlier this month, when Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle floated the possibility of reversible lanes.
Transportation officials confirmed last week the idea has been discussed as part of a study of options along the I-85 corridor.
The analysis is a component of a 2-years-long look at an extension to Ronald Reagan Parkway, which could be funded by tolls.
"The (Ronald Reagan Parkway) feasibility study has determined that a direct connection to I-85 is complex and should account for conditions not contemplated in the original study scope," Gwinnett DOT Acting Director Kim Conroy said in an email. "Referred to as the 'Interface Project,' it will consider how best to optimize the RRP access point with full consideration of the existing interchange network, including the possibility of reversible lanes on I-85."
A year ago, the Georgia Department of Transportation agreed to pay $750,000 to work on the interface project, being performed by Skanska USA, so the extension could link to I-85's toll lanes.
County officials said reversible lanes have been a part of the discussion among members of a citizens advisory group. They declined to say what other options are being studied or to go into specifics of the reversible lanes before the report is complete, which could happen in March.
During a recent event, Cagle described the reversible lane concept. He said he wants to add movable barriers to the interstate, which would convert northbound lanes into southbound for the congested morning commute. The effect would reverse in the evenings, adding more capacity during rush hour.
Chairwoman Charlotte Nash said she is unsure about the engineering of such an idea but said attention needs to be made to the congested corridor.
"Obviously, anything that can be done to help improve the traffic flow on I-85, especially during peak traffic times, I'm for that," Nash said. "I'm glad people are thinking about different ways to approach that."