Georgia’s Northwest Corridor Express Lanes Project wins leading infrastructure industry award

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The Georgia Department of Transportation’s (GDOT) Northwest Corridor Express Lanes Project has been recognized as the Number One project on the 2018 Top 10 Roads list awarded by Roads & Bridges (R&B), the USA’s trade magazine for the infrastructure construction industry.

Created in 2000, Roads & Bridges’ Top 10 Roads awards recognize the top projects in North America. Each year, nominations are submitted to the R&B editorial staff, which determines the Top 10 list based on project challenges, impact to region, and scope of work. GDOT’s infrastructure project, the largest of its kind in state history and one of the most innovative express lanes projects in the USA, opened on September 8 with the goal of alleviating congestion and providing more reliable travel times for commuters in the northwest Atlanta metropolitan region.

The Northwest Corridor Express Lanes Project included the design of six new express lane interchanges on I-75, new access points, and 39 bridges with lengths totaling about 5.2 linear miles (8.4km).

The scheme has added dynamically-priced toll-only lanes alongside I-75 and I-575, and uses the state’s Peach Pass transponder system for fee collection. The project did not use existing general-purpose lanes interchanges and as a result, four separate access points, some created using isolated side roads, were constructed for the I-285 interchange alone.

This, combined with successfully navigating a tight working space and managing environmental sensitivity, are some of the key factors that led it to be named the No. 1 project for 2018.

The project improves travel in the I-75/I-575 corridor by adding nearly 30 miles (48.2km) of express lanes along I-75 from Akers Mill Road to Hickory Grove Road, and along I-575 from I-75 to Sixes Road. Two express lanes were built to the west of the existing lanes along I-75 between I-285 and I-575. From that interchange, one express lane has been added along I-75 north to Hickory Grove Road and one express lane has been added along I-575 to Sixes Road.

“We are honored to receive this award from such a fine publication that is highly valued in our industry,” said GDOT’s commissioner, Russell R McMurry. “The Northwest Corridor Express Lanes Project was a major undertaking that spanned several years and involved the support of the state legislature, local organizations and stakeholders, and Georgia citizens.

“The Northwest Corridor Express Lanes offer a glimpse into the future of Georgia’s transportation network, which includes a connected system of express lanes in metropolitan Atlanta. We view this project as one of the most transformative projects in state history, enhancing both mobility and transportation choice for Georgia motorists. It is also a leading example of public-private partnership at work to accelerate construction and reduce impacts.

“Thanks to the support of Governor Deal and the Georgia General Assembly, we are able to continue this innovative work for years to come using the Northwest Corridor model.”

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Tom has edited Traffic Technology International magazine and the Traffic Technology Today website since he joined the company in May 2014. Prior to this he worked on some of the UK's leading consumer magazine titles including Men's Health and Glamour, beginning his career in journalism in 1997 after graduating with a law degree from the London School of Economics (LSE).

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