ATLANTA -- Gwinnett commuters will soon not be the only ones with a toll option.
Georgia transportation officials approved a contract to build variable-rate toll lanes along Interstate 75 on Atlanta's south side.
The $176.2 million contract will place express lanes between McDonough Road and Stockbridge Highway in Henry and Clayton counties nearly two years after the first operations began along Interstate 85 in Gwinnett and a portion of DeKalb.
"This project is going to provide trip time reliability and mobility options on this portion of the Interstate Highway System in Metropolitan Atlanta by adding much-needed new capacity," Georgia Transportation Commissioner Keith Golden said in a press release. "Traffic has been increasingly problematic in this corridor and the growth of Atlanta's Southside is only going to continue. This project will help accommodate that growth and contribute to the economic prosperity of the region. "
The lanes are one of the first components of a "metro-wide managed lanes network," Golden said, adding that more than 100,000 vehicles travel the route each day.
According to the contract approved Monday, C.W. Matthews Contracting Co. Inc., of Marietta, is expected to expedite the project using DOT's design/build approach.
Two lanes will be added in the center median of I-75 from State Route 138 in south Clayton to just north of State Route 20 and one reversible lane, also in the center median, will extend from that point to State Route 155 in Henry, officials said. The lanes will be barrier-separated and reversible, carrying traffic northbound in the mornings and southbound in afternoons and evenings. In addition to State Routes 155 and 138, the Express Lanes will be accessible at Interstate Highway 675, near State Route 20, and at Jonesboro Road.
When the lanes open in 2014, drivers can access them using the State Road and Tollway Authority's Peach Pass program, which is also operational along I-85.