The free ride in the HOV lane is coming to an end for most interstate travelers.
The I-85 Express Lanes are set to begin official operations Oct. 1. This is, however, contingent on weather conditions and successful testing of the equipment, according to officials from the State Road and Tollway Authority (SRTA).
“The opening of the I-85 Express Lanes will represent a new era in transportation innovation,” said Dr. Gena L. Evans, executive director of SRTA. “This all-electronic commuting choice gives access to a more reliable travel option in the I-85 corridor. The Express Lanes concept has been proven successful in eight other cities, and we are excited about its ability to positively impact I-85 traffic and keep Metro Atlantans moving.”
Motorists will see signs construction is reaching an end tonight when the signs begin changing to their permanent Express Lane text featuring the Peach Pass logo. Officials from the state Department of Transportation said the sign change process is projected to take 10 days, weather permitting.
Final Road I-85 Express Lane Construction Details
Changes to the signs over the southbound lanes of I-85 will begin south of State Route 317 in Suwanee. Changes to signage on the northbound lanes of I-85 will begin about a mile north of Clairmont Road in DeKalb County. Crews also will remove existing HOV pavement markings and new Express Lane pavement markings will be installed while working in the area.
Weather permitting, the inside lane will close at 8 p.m. and by 11 p.m. three inside lanes will be closed. Lanes will reopen by 5 a.m. the next day. The work is planned for I-85 first then crews will move to SR 316 to complete the changes from I-85 to Riverside Parkway. Necessary pacing will occur between 9 p.m. and 5 a.m. on SR 316 westbound only. Pacing will not be done on I-85.
“During the sign transition, motorists have the opportunity to get more familiar with these new regulatory signs prior to the launch of the Express Lanes,” said Georgia DOT Chief Engineer Gerald Ross. “Motorists should also note that the existing High Occupancy Vehicle lanes will continue in operation, allowing vehicles with two or more people, motorcycles and alternate fuel vehicles to use the lanes until the Express Lane System are open on Oct. 1.”
Peach Pass Registration
Peach Pass registration is required for all vehicles using the I-85 Express Lanes once the system goes live Oct. 1 -- even motorists using toll-exempt vehicles. These include carpools with three or more occupants, transit vehicles, motorcycles, on-call emergency vehicles and Alternative Fuel Vehicles (AFV) with the proper AFV license plates (not including hybrids).
Motorists wanting the option to use the new I-85 Express Lanes and the all-electronic toll lanes on GA 400 can obtain a Peach Pass online at www.PeachPass.com, by phone at 1-855-PCH-PASS (724-7277) or in person at two Department of Driver Services locations in Gwinnett County: 2211 Beaver Ruin Road, Norcross, and 310 Hurricane Shoals Road NE, Lawrenceville. It can also be done at a new Customer Service Center located on the ground floor of 47 Trinity Avenue SW, Atlanta.
To register for an account, motorists will need their contact and vehicle tag information and an initial prepaid amount of $20 dollars for Personal Toll Accounts. For more information on Peach Pass and the I-85 Express Lanes, visit www.PeachPass.com.