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 has revised 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.
The procurement schedule for the I-285 Express Lanes projects is under review pending SR 400 Express Lanes procurement completion. More information will be announced at a later date.
On February 22, 2022, Georgia DOT announced updates to the project packaging and procurement process for the express lanes on I-285. Initial segments for I-285 East – Phase 1 and Express Lanes on I-285 West – Phase 1 will be procured as separate best value private revenue contracts.
Due to the delivery model change and increased project scope for I-285 Eastside and I-285 Westside projects (PI 0013914 and PI 0013917) conceptual designs and environmental analyses are still being evaluated and developed.
Updates from June 2021
- 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 I-285 Express Lanes corridor will be barrier-separated, with concrete barriers separating traffic in the express lanes from traffic in the general purpose 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 I-285 Express Lanes may extend further with interchange access points all the way to I-20 on both the east and west sides of I-285. Under the previous plan, the express lanes would stop short of these interchanges.
- Private-sector partner(s) will evaluate the potential to expand the number of access points for express lanes users and transit vehicles. Examples that may be possible are connections to US78/Stone Mountain Freeway and I-20 on both sides of I-285. Should there be any changes or additions, public involvement will be required.
- 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.
- Georgia DOT could reduce the need for public funding over 40 years. The updates shift more financial burden from the State resulting 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.
Project Public Participation
Georgia DOT is conducting studies, including environmental, to help determine alignments, express lanes configurations, and access points for the I-285 Top End Express Lanes. The Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) is in development with a Public Hearing Open House (PHOH) anticipated in early 2024. Procurement, final design, and construction of the proposed I-285 Top End Express Lanes project will be phased. Initial segments include I-285 Express Lanes East – Phase 1 and I-285 Express Lanes West – Phase 1. More information about the project, federal environmental document, and studies can be found on the Georgia DOT project website: https://i285topendexpresslanes-gdot.hub.arcgis.com/.
Due to delivery model change and increased project scope for the I-285 Eastside and I-285 Westside Express Lanes projects, the federal environmental document for each project must be updated. Additional public involvement will be conducted at a later date.
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Mailing Address: Georgia DOT – One Georgia Center, 600 West Peachtree Street, Atlanta, GA 30308