ATLANTA-- It may be one of the least popular structures in the state, despised by motorists and politicians alike. They all rejoiced in the announcement that the toll booth on Georgia 400 would come down by the end of this year.
"I'm pretty sure I've paid my share of tolls on that road many times over. I'm looking forward to 'em being gone," said motorist Brian Borchers.
But the planned demise of the despised toll booth comes with this cautionary bit of data from the state tollway authority. The agency projects that once the state stops collecting tolls here on 400, traffic volume will jump by as much as eighteen percent. This, on a stretch of road that already handles nearly 120,000 vehicles per day.
The state has already tried to ease congestion on parts of 400 by creating so-called "flex lanes" on the highway's shoulders.
"I think Atlanta needs to have more express lanes here," said motorist Claudia Wilburn.
Gov. Nathan Deal was non-committal when asked about new toll lanes on 400, similar to those currently operating on I-85. "I made one promise, and that was that I wasn't going to take any road lane that was already there and put a toll on it. Any toll lanes in the future under my administration would have to be new construction," Deal said. The state department of transportation is studying ways to increase traffic capacity on 400, Deal said.
The toll plaza is due to stop its work in November.