The state Department of Transportation released a detailed description last week of the project, indicating there will be seven additional on/off ramps constructed to service the new lanes.
One will be at the Interstate 75/Akers Mill Road intersection, followed by others at the 75/I-285 intersection, Terrell Mill Road, Roswell Road in Marietta, the I-75/I-575 junction, Big Shanty Road in Kennesaw and Hickory Grove Road in Acworth.
Two reversible lanes will be built between the I-75 intersection/Akers Mill Road intersection and the I-75 intersection with I-575 in north Cobb.
One reversible lane will be added to the portion of 575 between the I-75/575 junction and Hickory Grove Road.
And one reversible lane will be added along the portion of I-75 between the 575 intersection and Sixes Road in Cherokee County.
Those lanes will run parallel to the existing highway, but there will not be access from the reversible lanes onto I-75. But three “slip ramps” will be built between the 75/575 merge at Kennesaw and Sixes Road (at Sixes, Shallowford Road and Big Shanty Road) to allow access from the reversible lanes onto 575.
The state has decided to build most of those access points for the new lanes away from the existing entrance/exit points to the interstates in order to not worsen the congestion at those exits.
“We wanted to put the new exits where interchanges weren’t already in place, so that we don’t increase traffic in those areas,” project manager John Hancock told the MDJ.
Construction will start in about a year.
The state had been a latecomer to the reversible lane concept, but it was embraced by Gov. Nathan Deal not long after he took office four years ago as a welcome way to help address congestion in the metro area.
Traffic will flow southbound during the morning rush hour and northbound during the evening rush hour on the new lanes, but details have not been announced in terms of what time the switchovers will take place each day.
Likewise, the state has yet to announce the locations for the toll booths for the new lanes, or what the pricing structure will be for the tolls. It is known, however, that the state will use variable price tolling, meaning the cost will fluctuate based on congestion levels on the interstate.
Groundbreaking is set for September.
“I think the managed lanes project is going to be an absolute positive project to help ease some of the transportation concerns,” Cobb Commission Chairman Tim Lee said.
We are confident that the new lanes will go far toward easing that congestion as well. And if that proves the case, we would urge the state to consider the reversible-lane approach for other corridors as well.