The state’s new $834 million toll lanes in Cobb and Cherokee counties got their first real test, and state officials and local police reported easing riding.
The new Northwest Corridor Express Lanes opened Saturday, but Monday was the first day the nearly 30 miles of reversible interstate lanes faced a morning rush hour.
The State Road and Tollway Authority, which manages the managed lanes, reported about 5,000 trips Monday between 6 and 10 a.m. Saturday saw about 5,300 during the whole day, and Sunday’s total was about 6,000.
An estimated 222,000 vehicles travel within the I-75 and I-575 corridor each weekday, according to the state Department of Transportation.
Georgia DOT spokeswoman Natalie Dale said it is too early to see what affect the new lanes are having on the old lanes’ traffic.
“It will take us at least a few weeks to run data on resulting impacts on the general purpose lanes,” she said. “Unfortunately, that can't be done in just one morning's commute. That being said, things have gone well so far this weekend and this morning.”
SRTA and police departments whose territory the lanes intersect reported no major incidents involving the new lanes Monday morning.
To use the lanes, drivers must have a Peach Pass, a sticker with a transponder that allows tolls to be collected automatically.
The lanes will be free to Peach Pass holders through Sept. 22. After that, rates will be based on the time of travel, increasing during peak hours and decreasing during less busy times. The minimum toll will be 10 cents per mile.
Drivers can get a Peach Pass by visiting www.peachpass.com, calling 1-855-724-7277 or visiting a Peach Pass retail center.