Toll collection on Ga. 400 is set to end on Nov. 21. The demolition of the toll plaza, a project expected to last a year and cost $3.5 million, will begin in January. Southeastern Site Development Inc. of Newnan was selected to tear down the plaza.
“I acted as quickly as the state’s contractual obligations allowed to bring down the Ga. 400 toll,” said Gov. Nathan Deal in a statement. “I pledged during my campaign for governor that I’d bring down the toll as the state promised commuters it would do when it opened the toll more than two decades ago. Today’s announcement is a big step toward making that happen.”
Close to 119,000 commuters use the Ga. 400 extension every weekday. Each vehicle is charged 50 cents, allowing the toll to generate around $59,000 each day. Toll funds have been used to operate and maintain the road, fund operations for the State Road and Tollway Authority, and pay down bond debt. Gov. Deal promised in July of last year that Georgia would pay off its bond debt and end tolls on the Ga. 400 by Dec. 2013.
Though toll collection is currently set to end on Nov. 21, weather could cause the date to be moved to Nov. 22 or 23. The ending date was set for the week before Thanksgiving to reduce the impact on holiday travel.
Georgia DOT Commissioner Keith Golden plans to work with the contractor and with the State Road and Tollway Authority to make sure the toll plaza removal process does not severely disrupt traffic flow. No heavy demolition work is projected to occur during the winter holidays.
According to preliminary plans, in October traffic will be shifted into three general purpose lanes where drivers currently use the electronic tolling lanes. Traffic will move over again after the cash booths and the overhead structure are removed, so that the rest of the toll plaza can be taken down, and then shift back to the usual lanes.