Express lanes on I-75 set to open late summer

- Relief is coming for drivers who use the Northwest Corridor of Interstates 75 and 575. The Express Lanes project that started five years ago is on track to finish up late this summer.

It's the biggest DOT construction project in state history, and it's almost complete. The Northwest Corridor Express Lanes are 95 percent ready, meaning there's light at the end of the Express Lane tunnel.

Traffic stays pretty steady on I-75 in Cobb County at all hours of the day, but in a few months instead of construction equipment, you'll see cars flying by on these new express lanes.

"We have to be innovative, and we have to be forward thinking with how we're giving people in this corridor a reliable trip time and that we're giving them a choice," says DOT Spokesperson Natalie Dale.

The reversible lanes will give drivers the option to pay for a faster ride.

"It is a managed lane. It's barrier separated and people will be traveling into the city in the morning and then out of the city in the afternoon," explains Stephen Lively, the Major Program Delivery Manager of the Northwest Corridor Project.

"If you're at the office and you're running late to your child's soccer game, or a doctor's appointment ... or you're at home and you're running late to work, this gives you that dependable, viable option ... It gives you a choice," Dale adds.

The lanes will work just like the South Metro Express Lanes in Henry and Cayton counties.

"It's been a great way for us to look at the reversible toll system and to see how it does benefit a corridor," says Dale.

At 30 miles, it's the largest construction project the state has ever undertaken, featuring the longest bridge in the state.

"Into the city, out of the city and that's 30 miles that runs from Akers Mill, runs all the way up I-575 to Sixes Road and up I-75 to Hickory Grove," Dale states.

While the work is almost done, the DOT says, now is the time to grab your Peach Pass.

"You may never intend on using them, but there may be a day where it's an emergency and you need to use them, so it's best to have that Peach Pass ready to go," says Dale.

Project officials do want to urge you to stay out of the lanes until they open sometime late this summer. The last 5 percent of work means the lanes look pretty close to being ready, but they're not and for the safety of the crews finishing things up...they ask that you don't go exploring.

The dynamic pricing will work similar to the Hot Lanes on I-85 and it will fluctuate based on demand. 

For more on how to get a Peach Pass visit the state website.

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