Reversible toll lanes coming to I-75 in Henry Co. - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Reversible toll lanes coming to I-75 in Henry Co.

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The Georgia Department of Transportation is scheduled to host another open house this week to detail the agency's proposed toll lane plan for Interstate 75 in Henry County.

The project calls for barrier-separated, reversible lanes along a 12-mile stretch of the interstate from SR 138 in Stockbridge to SR 155 in McDonough.

The lanes would run northbound during the morning rush hour and southbound in the evening.

"You need to have some type of better transportation in Atlanta," said business owner Marty Schilling, who likes GDOT's plan so far. "Since we are not putting in railways, we'd better start putting it into highways."

Georgia's Department of Transportation estimates the lanes will cost $300 million to build.

Opponents of the project point to the GDOT's HOT lane adventure on I-85 in Gwinnett County as a good reason to not add tolls.

On that stretch of interstate in 2011, GDOT took away an existing lane in each direction and turned it into a toll lane. That slowed traffic to a crawl during the morning and evening commute as drivers were hesitant to pay to get into the lane.

GDOT officials said the I-75 project is much different from the toll project on I-85. On I-75, transportation officials plan to add brand new lanes to ease congestion.

Some drivers on the south side told CBS Atlanta News that they are not willing to pay for a faster commute.

"No, I will not pay extra to ride in that toll lane," said a frustrated Carol Cook. "I think gas is high enough and traffic is bad, but not bad enough for me to pay."

"I wouldn't mind paying to go on it," said Marvlyn Dawkins of Stockbridge. "Getting home for me is more important because I have kids. I have school work to do. I've got to cook. So I wouldn't mind paying it." 

GDOT engineer Darryl VanMeter told CBS Atlanta News that paying a toll to use the new lanes is necessary to ease traffic tie-ups. VanMeter added that if they just added another general purpose lane, it would fill up just like the current lanes.

"That's what you see right now. We didn't think years ago that you would get that level of congestion out there, but it came," said VanMeter.

The DOT is holding another open house on Thursday night so that people can hear and be heard about the I-75 express lanes project. It's from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Hilton Garden Inn, 95 Highway 81 West in McDonough.

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