I-285 Express Lanes
In our ongoing efforts to deliver the best and most impactful versions of much-needed infrastructure projects to Georgia, Georgia DOT is revising the Public-Private Partnership (P3) delivery model for the express lanes’ projects on I-285 (I-285 Top End, I-285 Westside, and I-285 Eastside Express Lanes projects).
This revision provides a number of benefits to Georgia taxpayers, users of the I-285 Express Lanes system, local communities, and all motorists in the I-285 corridor between either interchange at I-20 on the east and west sides of the metro Atlanta area. It also continues Georgia’s highly successful track record in delivering impactful new transportation projects that dramatically improve conditions along some of the state’s and nation’s most congested interstate corridors using innovative funding and financing methods.
- There will be increased capacity with two, barrier-separated, dedicated express lanes in each direction across the entire northern half of I-285. Under the previous plan, Georgia DOT could only build one, buffer-separated express lane for the I-285 Westside and I-285 Eastside Express Lanes projects. It is expected that the current design along the top end, which already incorporates two express lanes in each direction would not change significantly.
- The entire project will be barrier-separated, with concrete barriers separating traffic in the express lanes from traffic in the general purpose lanes. This change brings measurable safety benefits to motorists in the express lanes. Under the previous plan, there would be no barrier on the I-285 Eastside and I-285 Westside Express Lanes projects, only lane separation similar to the I-85 Express Lanes.
- The new model provides the opportunity for more innovative solutions to address congestion and mobility throughout the corridor, with the potential for additional access points to the express lanes from major local roads or system-to-system connections such as the Stone Mountain Freeway (US 78) and I-20 in both Cobb and DeKalb counties.
- The private-sector partner will ultimately set tolls within the contract criteria established by the State Road and Tollway Authority (SRTA). The rates established by the private-sector partner(s) will reflect market conditions, meaning variable toll rates will be adjusted for more reliable trip times for vehicles including transit.
- The updates will shift more financial burden from the State and will result in a reduction in public funding commitments for the projects over future decades.
What Hasn’t Changed?
- Like all other Georgia Express Lanes, a Peach Pass will be required to use the I-285 Express Lanes. The lanes will function as a seamless expansion of Georgia’s existing express lanes network. Motorists who obtain and display a Peach Pass transponder in their windshields can access the express lanes and pay the posted toll via an automated process.
- Transit operators will still have access to the express lanes, supporting current and future operations as a multi-modal option. The private partner(s) will be required to be responsive to the potential for Express Lanes Transit (ELT) infrastructure/investment in support of MARTA’s I-285 Top End BRT plan, as is currently being explored with the I-285 mayors working group with The ATL.
- The other MMIP projects and operational express lanes projects remain the same. The MMIP projects will continue to advance and Georgia DOT and SRTA will operate, maintain, and manage toll prices for the express lanes’ corridors already in operation.
Due to this change, each project that is a part of the I-285 Express Lanes must have its separate federal environmental document updated to reflect the new direction. This update will include a robust public involvement process.
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Mailing Address: Georgia DOT – One Georgia Center, 600 West Peachtree Street, Atlanta, GA 30308