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Vehicles going east on Hickory Grove Road Wednesday morning approach the access point onto the Northwest Corridor Express Lanes.

The Georgia Department of Transportation reports that the Northwest Corridor Express Lanes are reducing travel times for motorists on Interstates 75 and I-575.

Opened in September, the express lanes extend along the two interstates in Cherokee and Cobb counties and include nearly 30 miles of tolled reversible lanes. In just eight months of operation, a GDOT analysis found more than 4.2 million trips have been registered posting travel speeds 30% faster than in the general purpose lanes. Because of this, the corridor’s rush hour has been reduced by more than one hour during both the morning and evening commute times, benefitting both Peach Pass motorists and drivers in the general purpose lanes.

The express lanes use a dynamic pricing system, which increases the price per use during peak travel times and decreases during off-peak times.

According to the report, in April 2018, before the lanes opened, the average speed on I-75 northbound between I-285 and I-575 during peak rush hour times was 20 mph. In April 2019, with the express lanes up and running, the average speed in this same area as much as doubled to 40 mph. Other benefits of the express lanes have included more reliable trip times, more consistent travel speeds and increased transit opportunities, all of which improve air quality, according to the GDOT report. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, tailpipe exhaust is expected to be reduced by approximately 23.8 tons each year as 2.87 billion gallons of fuel are saved by reducing the waste of engines idling in traffic congestion.

“The Northwest Corridor Express Lanes have created compelling new commute options for motorists and transit users, who often described them as ‘life-changing,’” GDOT Commissioner Russell McMurry said in a prepared statement. “The project has also improved the quality of life for thousands who regularly travel the corridor, giving them time back in their day.”

GDOT is currently looking to develop additional express lanes in the metro Atlanta area, which will tie the current Northwest Corridor Express Lanes into a larger system, the Georgia Express Lanes network. Four more express lane projects are being developed as part of the department’s Major Mobility Investment Program, an $11 billion investment in transportation infrastructure statewide. Once completed, the growing metro Atlanta region will see a more connected transportation network benefiting both motorists and transit riders.

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