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GDOT: Two New Reversible Lanes on I-75, I-575 | News

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GDOT: Two New Reversible Lanes on I-75, I-575

ATLANTA--  The Georgia Department of Transportation is ready to hear what the public thinks of it's plans for the crowded Northwest corridor.

11Alive News was shown a draft video that will be used at upcoming public hearings.  It illustrates two new lanes that run the length of I-75 and 575.  They sit side by side and are reversible--inbound in the morning, outbound in the evening

GDOT Spokesperson Vicki Gavalas explained that the new lanes won't encroach on any existing roadway.  Beginning at I-285, the lanes would be built west of I-75.  At the split the lanes continue up the middle of both I-75 and I-575 respectively.

"what we're trying to do is manage congestion. We're trying to make what we have out there as efficient and effective as possible," Gavalas said.

Right now, so called HOT lanes are being installed on a section of I-85.  The plan on the Northwest Corridor is similar only in that they too will be toll lanes.

Drivers can choose whether to ride in the faster lanes.  As congestion increases, so does the cost per mile.

GDOT confesses it is the only really viable option at this date since state funds including the fuel tax are dwindling.

"We just don't have the money to pay for expanding the roads as they are now, buying right of ways and on top of that impeding traffic for months during construction.  This will have little impact on drivers while it's being built," Gavalas said.

As for what it costs the Northwest Corridor Project would be a public private partnership.

Gavalas estimates the total cost at $1.4 billion.

Tax money would total $350 million and then a private company would fork over the rest to design, construct and operate the lanes.  Any toll revenue goes to the company as well.

Mass transit buses will also use the lanes.  Gavalas said more people might be willing to keep their cars at home if they know they're not just boarding a bus to sit in the same gridlock as solo drivers.

GDOT is in the midst of a federal environmental study about the feasibility of the reversible lanes and asking for the public's input.

Two meetings are planned:

Oct. 21, Woodstock High School, 2010 Towne Lake Hills Drive, Woodstock, from 4 to 7pm.

Oct.26, Doubletree Hotel Ballroom, 2055 S. Park Place, Atlanta, from 4 to 7pm.