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New HOV Lane Entry Points Mean Changes for Commuters

A six-mile gap between entry and exit points could leave area commuters spending more time in traffic.

The conversion of the existing is almost complete.  But there are more changes than the access rules for many commuters. Gwinnett residents may have noticed the recent restriping of access points to the lane. Designated access and exit points are marked with a dashed double white line. 

The new entry points on I-85 South leave a six-mile gap between the Lawrenceville-Suwanee Road start point and Beaver Ruin without access to the lane. Suwanee, Duluth and Lawrenceville residents that enter I-85 at Old Peachtree, Sugarloaf, 120 and Boggs Road must navigate through a stretch of heavy traffic before having access to the HOT lane.

According to Jill Goldberg, Deputy Press Secretary for the Georgia Department of Transportation,  “The original intent of and concept developed for the CRD (Congestion Relief Demonstration) project was to help move traffic through some of the more congested areas along the I-85 North corridor.  Studies have shown that this can be done by limiting access to the lane in an effort to reduce merging in and out, which slows down traffic flow.

"Key points were considered along the route, and the most effective locations were chosen for allowing access and exiting the lanes.  Many factors were taken into consideration, including the distance between interchanges, the locations where new signage could be added, the ability to place new tolling technology along the route, and several other design issues.  Ultimately, the decision to place entrance and exit points to the Express Lanes resulted from analysis of the information gathered being used in the best manner to meet the goal of the lanes – reduce congestion by keeping the lane flowing more freely."

This also affects commuters and bus riders using the park-and-ride lot at Sugarloaf Parkway. With the previous HOV lanes, commuters could enter the southbound lanes just north of Pleasant Hill Road.

For the upcoming HOT lanes, the access and exit points are in different locations for northbound and southbound traffic.  According to Teri Pope, Communications Officer for the Georgia Department of Transportation, the access points are:

I-85 northbound HOT lane access points:

ENTER the HOT lanes at:                                

  • South of Chamblee Tucker Road;     
  • North of Dawson Boulevard overpass;
  • North of Center Way overpass;
  • South of SR 378/Beaver Ruin Road;
  • SR 316

    EXIT the HOT lanes at:

  • SR 140/Jimmy Carter Boulevard
  • SR 378 – Indian Trail Road, Beaver Ruin Road.
  • SR 120/Duluth Highway – Steve Reynolds Boulevard – Pleasant Hill Road– Boggs Road.
  • SR 316
  • Sugarloaf Parkway – Old Peachtree Road.
  • South of SR 317/Lawrenceville Suwanee Road.

 I-85 southbound HOT lane access points:

    ENTER the HOT lanes at:

  • South of SR 317/Lawrenceville Suwanee Road.
  • North of SR 378/Beaver Ruin Road.
  • South of Indian Trail Road.
  • South of SR 140/Jimmy Carter Boulevard.

    EXIT the HOT lanes at:

  • Indian Trail – Lilburn Road.
  • SR 140/Jimmy Carter Boulevard.
  • Pleasantdale Road – I-285
  • Chamblee Tucker Road.

William Mecke, Chief Public Relations Officer for the Georgia Regional Transportation Authority, said, “We are aware of the distance that will exist between the Sugarloaf Parkway and Highway 120 ramps onto I-85 and the next available entrance to the HOT lanes when the conversion is completed. Because of the potential difficulty of the merge and the distance before the entrance we are exploring alternative routings from Discover Mills Mall to I-85 and the HOT lanes, including traveling south on Sugarloaf Parkway to GA 316 and entering the I-85 HOT lanes from 316.”

The HOT lanes are scheduled to open later this summer. Commuters can get information on how to access the toll lanes at PeachPass.com.

Edwin Gravitt June 13, 2011 at 12:41 PM
Quite frankly I have never seen any positive effect that the HOV lanes have and was opposed to them in the first place. Maybe I'm missing something, but I am still opposed to them.
MDG June 13, 2011 at 01:45 PM
I think the change from HOV to HOT is just wrong. It is going from those who are willing to ride share to those who are willing to pay. I may be proven wrong, but I think we will see fewer cars in that lane after the switch.
Edwin Gravitt June 13, 2011 at 04:29 PM
Exactly, Mr. Graves.
Jim Regan June 13, 2011 at 11:19 PM
It's hard enough to find one person to commute with much less two people. I will NEVER pay a toll to drive in the HOT lane. Everyone needs to remember which commissioners voted for this. Hopefully, it can be repealled after the next election cycle.
Scott June 14, 2011 at 03:30 PM
Well, until the HOV/HOT lanes are actually separated by something that people can't drive over there will be little chance that they will be successful. We have probably all seen people dart in and out of the lane over the double solid line. If you follow the letter of the law this is not allowed. However, how many actually follow this? I have visited enough other towns that have HOV lanes and prefer the way others have the lanes marked and certainly enforced better than the officials and DOT have with the lanes in ALL of Atlanta. In California the HOV lanes have yellow lines separating them from general travel lanes. We ALL know that you shouldn't cross a solid yellow line. So that certainly makes people pause more before enter/exit when they're not supposed to. (It's also over $475 per violation and is clearly marked every 1/2 mile +/-) In Chicago some HOV lanes are actually elevated or separated from general travel lanes by a wall/divider. Mostly because they are "reversible" (shades of US78 pre-median). (This same HOV system is used in parts of San Diego as well.) G PD and GSP have all commented they cannot enforce lane violations during heavy traffic times due to safety to "chase" vehicles they see violating the law. For that reason people get away with breaking the rules and enter/exit as they wish with little regard to safety of others. The only hope is the HOT system can be better enforced to deter this behavior.
Helena choi February 07, 2012 at 09:57 PM
I enjoyed hov lane before. And also I can save the gas.. But after peach pass,i have to pay or drive in heavy traffic. Because I drive two person. It should allow two person like before. Do not squeeze our blood. Already I am very painful in this economy.

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