A construction project intended to ease congestion on I-75 is currently gaining momentum with the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT). The idea has been in the works for over a year already, but after recently moving it up the priority list, GDOT now estimates that construction will be completed by 2028.
As it currently stands, the plan is to add two northbound truck lanes, separated by a concrete divider, running from Macon to McDonough. Commercial trucks would be required to use these lanes instead of regular commuter lanes, except when making a stop within the I-75 corridor.
Atlanta is a major commercial hub, and as a result, commercial big rigs currently make up 35% of traffic along the proposed route, a ratio that’s expected to continue rising. This upgrade could be just what’s needed to ease not only commute times but also accident rates along one of the country’s busiest freeways.
The I-75 Is Overdue for Expansion
As of 2018, the Atlanta Metropolitan Area was home to two of the most congested freeway interchanges in the U.S, as reported by the Federal Highway Administration. One of them is the interchange between the I-75 and the I-285, which is located just beyond the proposed end of the new lanes. Reducing the piling up of traffic going into the interchange should also help the interchange itself work more smoothly. The GDOT believes that, by 2030, the new truck lanes could reduce overall delays on the I-75 by 40%.
One GDOT representative also noted that the I-75 corridor would have to be expanded soon one way or another, and the truck lane plan is the department’s effort to use this opportunity to be smart and innovative about the expansion. And, at least in theory, the idea of giving commercial trucks their own space is indeed a clever way of getting the most out of every square foot of new construction.
Separating Commercial and Commuter Vehicles Means Better Safety and Efficiency for All
Building lanes for the sole use of one type of vehicle may not sound at first like the comprehensive upgrade commuters are hoping for, but expanding capacity for trucks reduces stress on every lane and helps minimize contact between trucks and cars, which is how a lot of serious accidents happen.
According to a 2003 study by the University of Maryland, increased traffic congestion is directly associated with increased accidents during peak hours. Another study published in Science Daily in 2013 found that a higher ratio of large trucks in traffic correlates with higher numbers of fatal accidents, to the point where heavier traffic with fewer trucks is safer than lighter traffic with lots of trucks.
Taking commercial trucks out of the traffic mix and putting them on their own route will reduce both of these risk factors currently threatening Atlanta drivers, hopefully resulting in a safer, speedier driving experience.
In the meantime, if you or someone you love has already become the victim of a car vs. big rig collision, reach out to The Stoddard Firm to learn more about your options.