Sure, some of the revenue collected from the extended tolls is planned to pay for much-needed improvements along the highway — including a sorely-needed, long-delayed interchange at I-85 and Ga. 400.
But the manner in which the tollway authority and Gov. Sonny Perdue, who chairs SRTA, came to today's vote hasn't won the state many fans. (The AJC said the process was "shrouded in secrecy.")
Despite the governor's claims that the projects were selected after sitdowns with several business and community groups, we never saw any public hearings or efforts to solicit input from the general public, who also pay Ga. 400's tolls, prior to today's vote. Hell, we had to file an Open Records Request just to see the recommended projects, and we didn't even get that until 5:45 p.m. on Wednesday. (Download the project list here.)
In other words, some sunlight would've made things a little more palatable.
After the jump, a list of projects that the new toll revenues could fund, courtesy of the governor's office.
The 11 projects that are recommended for implementation are:
· New ramps that connect GA400 and I-85 so motorists no longer need to travel on local surface streets, saving 4 to 7 minutes of travel time;
· Improving the GA400 southbound to I-85 southbound merge so GA400 has a dedicated lane in I-85;
· Widening GA400 from McFarland Rd. to SR20 with a third general purpose lane;
· Extend the third northbound lane approximately ¾ miles to enhance the transition from the existing four lanes to two lanes near McFarland Rd that extend to SR20 in Forsyth County;
· Extend the Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) and Highway Emergency Response Order (HERO) north from McFarland Rd to SR20 by providing video detection and ramp metering to more effectively manage congestion and reduce the impact of incidences along GA400;
· Install ITS from Barnwell Rd on SR140/Holcomb Bridge Rd to SR9/Alpharetta Street, utilizing existing Active Traffic Management System devices to optimize costs and coordinate with the existing City of Roswell traffic infrastructure;
· Construct a triple left turn lane for the Mansell Road corridor between the GA400 northbound exit ramp (Exit 8) and the North Point Parkway intersection with Mansell Rd to accommodate planned growth from the current 18,650 cars per day to the projected 59,700 cars per day in 2034;
· Continue funding the GRTA Xpress service from Forsyth County to the North Springs MARTA rail station near Perimeter Center and direct service to Downtown Atlanta from Cumming;
· Reconstruct the ramp from westbound Abernathy to northbound GA400 to allow motorists additional time and distance to merge onto GA400; and
· Increase capacity and make operational improvements to the three intersections that directly tie into the Northridge Road intersection at GA400, which are Northridge Road at Dunwoody Place, Roberts Drive and Somerset Court, and Roberts Drive and Dunwoody Place, and add a traffic roundabout at Somerset Court to the east; and
· Initiate Preliminary Engineering (PE) of managed lanes between I-285 and McFarland Road.
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