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Toll free ride comes early on Georgia 400

1:54 AM, Nov 23, 2013   |    comments
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ATLANTA - Gone is the arm gate and last minute scramble for change.  The ride on Georgia 400 is now toll free.

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The tolls weren't expected to end until after Friday's rush hour traffic, but last minute the state decided there was really no reason to wait.

The tolls officially closed shortly after 11 a.m. Friday morning. 

Friday night the DOT will merge traffic into one lane to repaint the lines.  Saturday, it's expected to reopen with three new lanes for traffic to flow as it begins the work of dismantling the toll plaza.

"I don't know that they'll be huge backups but, better if you can avoid the area, go a different way just for this one night," said the Georgia Tollway Authority's Bert Brantley.

120,000 drivers a day have traveled through the Georgia 400 toll plaza for the past twenty years, dropping $60,000 a day into the Tollway Authority's coffers.

Michael Bent is one who is not celebrating the end of the tolls. His job at the toll plaza is ending after 17 years.

"If your job is going away, it's not something you enjoy or celebrate," said Bent. "But sometimes, change is good."

The big question now is what the change will mean for traffic.  The DOT believes its new I-85/400 interchange will be as much of a draw for new drivers as the free ride.

They anticipate a traffic increase of about 15% in the months to come.  That's 18,000 more cars on the road every day.

Monday morning's commute will only be a taste of what's to come.

 

 

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