Atlanta project includes reversible lane on I-75

By David Tanner, associate editor

Interstate travel in and around Atlanta will never be the same once a massive public-private partnership for toll lanes is completed in about three years.

Under the proposal, the Georgia Department of Transportation will partner with a private investor to construct tolled lanes on 46 miles of interstates, including a reversible lane on I-75.

The first phase, called the Northwest Corridor Segment, calls for 18 miles of new managed lanes on I-75 from Akers Mill Road to Hickory Grove Road and 11 miles of managed lanes from I-75 to Sixes Road. The Northwest Corridor Segment also includes a single reversible lane on I-75 near the interchange with I-575.

The Western Corridor Segment would add 9.5 miles of managed lanes along I-285 and 6.5 miles of managed lanes along I-20.

Toll rates for the managed lanes would vary based on time of day and traffic volume. Off-peak hours would be the cheapest, while peak times would be the most expensive. This form of tolling is known as congestion pricing.

GDOT estimates the total cost of the toll-lane project at $3.3 billion.

Under Georgia law, the DOT can solicit public-private partnerships, or P3s, for roadwork, and that’s precisely what they did for this project.

GDOT issued a request for proposals in 2010 and narrowed the shortlist to three finalists, all from Europe. The winning bidder will emerge from the shortlist. Candidates include Cintra of Spain, ACS of Spain, and VINCI from France.

Once a bidder is selected, construction will take about three years.

Cintra, full name Cintra Concessiones de Infraestructuras de Transporte, might ring familiar to truckers. That’s because Cintra is a majority partner in the consortium that operates the Indiana Toll Road.

Cintra also has a 50 percent stake in the Chicago Skyway and is a majority partner of the 407 Express Toll Route in Toronto, Ontario. Cintra is also involved in several Texas toll road projects in various phases of planning and construction. LL