Already 10 years in the making, the Georgia Department of Transportation is beginning to make moves toward construction on the Northwest Corridor Project, with plans to build two reversible toll lanes — one on Interstate 75 and one on Interstate 575 — each beginning in Cobb County and ending in Cherokee County.
Mohamed Arafa, a communications officer with GDOT, said Friday that the environmental study conducted for the project was accepted by the federal government in late May and that construction on the lanes is slated to start sometime in 2014 and wrap up in 2018.
The design process for the construction will begin late this year after GDOT has evaluated proposed plans from design firms, which are due Monday, he said.
Arafa said the Northwest Corridor Project is the first in the state of Georgia to be a joint effort by the public and private sectors.
“The private sector will be responsible for the design, construction and limited financing for (some of the) construction to be repaid by the state after the road is open,” Arafa said.
The total budget for the project is about $950 million, VanMeter said.
The first of the two lanes will begin at Akers Mill Road on I-75 in Cobb County and will end at Hickory Grove Road on Interstate 75, just over the Cobb-Cherokee line, said Darryl VanMeter, an engineer with GDOT who said he has worked the Northwest Corridor Project since its beginning about 10 years ago.
The second lane will begin where I-75 and I-575 meet in Cobb County and end at Sixes Road near Holly Springs, VanMeter said Friday.
These lanes will travel both north and south, said VanMeter.
“In the morning, (the lanes) will be traveling southbound, and in the evening, it’ll be traveling northbound,” he said.
The toll lane on I-75 will be mostly on the west side of the road, VanMeter said. The lane on I-575 will be in the median of the road, he said.
VanMeter said the tolls for these lanes will not be collected in the traditional method of toll booths. Instead, VanMeter said the lanes will employ the Peach Pass system.
In the Peach Pass system, drivers set up a toll funding account and place a transmitter in their vehicle.
Each time their car passes one of the check points in the system, their account is charged.
VanMeter said the new lanes in the Northwest Corridor Project, like other toll lanes in the state, will have their tolls vary with traffic.
“The objective is to keep the lane flowing, so as demand increases, the toll would increase,” he said.
VanMeter said no toll rates for the lanes have been set yet and will be determined by the Georgia Road and Tollway Authority.