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Atlanta’s commute of the future? 12 miles of tolled express lanes open

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Lanes stretch along Interstate 75 in Henry and Clayton counties

A combined entrance and exit ramp leads up from the express lanes on the highway below to a bridge.
New entrance and exit ramps to the express lanes.
GDOT

For Atlantans tired of sitting in traffic, a stop-free commute is a concept usually limited to dreams. But for drivers who use Interstate 75 in Henry County and elsewhere on the southside, that dream is now a potential reality.

Of course, there’s a catch: It’ll cost you.

New dedicated express toll lanes were unveiled along 12 miles of the interstate on Saturday, according to WSB-TV.

After a grace period, all drivers will need a Peach Pass to enter the lanes. During peak congestion, the full trip could cost $10 or more.

Unlike the express lanes on Interstate 85, the pair of new lanes run independent of the regular road, in the former median. The lanes are accessed via entry ramps spaced every few miles along the route.

The lanes are the first of their kind — reversible based on the time of day, northbound in the mornings and southbound in the evenings — in Georgia, and will provide nearly 60 percent additional capacity on the corridor, according to the State Road and Tollway Authority.

The project, known as the “South Metro Express Lanes,” cost more than $175 million to construct. It’s expected that the lanes will save all commuters on the corridor some serious time.

GDOT

These are the first, but they won’t be the only lanes of this kind in the metro.

The same setup is coming to Cobb County on Interstate 75 north of the Perimeter, and similar lanes are being considered for the northern edge of Interstate 285 — and even Ga. Highway 400.