Updated at 1:10 p.m.: GDOT spokeswoman Jill Goldberg said the lanes are now open to southbound traffic. She said there have been no accidents or other adverse incidents since they opened.
“The lanes have operated exactly as planned,” she said. “Overall, traffic did seem to be lighter all across the metro area this morning. Vehicles did use the express lanes even with the traffic flowing well in the regular travel lanes.”
Updated at 10 a.m.: Imagine cruising into Atlanta at rush hour on lanes that seem built just for you and a handful of friends.
There are so few drivers that you sometimes imagine you’re the only person using the lanes. Meanwhile, on your right and left – separated by barriers – are thousands of vehicles moving just as fast, but braking and passing and otherwise dealing with the hassles of sharing the road with others.
That pretty well describes the experience of driving the new I-75 South Metro Express Lanes Monday morning. The lanes opened Saturday, but Monday was their first test at rush hour.
The two toll lanes are reversible – they carry northbound traffic into Atlanta in the morning and southbound traffic out of town in the afternoon. Only motorists with a Peach Pass can use them, and they’ll be free for those with a pass for the first two weeks.
“We have not had any issues and the lanes have been operating smoothly, without any incidents as of this time,” Georgia Department of Transportation spokeswoman Jill Goldberg said late Sunday afternoon.
Goldberg said the department would not have any statistics on how many people used the lanes for a week or so.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution will have a full report on the first rush hour with the new lanes later today. You can read more about the lanes here.