Georgia Transportation Partners (GTP) has received approval for the next phase of its proposal to help ease congestion on I-75 and I-575 north of Atlanta.
On Dec. 15, the State Transportation Board authorized the commissioner of the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) to sign a Letter of Intent to negotiate an agreement with GTP to develop the project.
The GTP proposal is the first under the state's new public-private initiatives (PPI) legislation to achieve this major milestone. GTP is a joint venture of Bechtel Infrastructure Corp., based in Maryland; locally-based Gilbert Southern Corp. (a subsidiary of Peter Kiewit Sons' Inc.) of Peachtree City, Ga.; and C.W. Matthews Contracting Co. Inc., of Marietta, Ga.
"We’re pleased to move to the next phase of Georgia’s first PPI project, and we look forward to working with GDOT to help develop the best transportation solutions for the corridor,” said Jim Dell, GTP project manager.
The GTP proposal offers an innovative plan to add highway and rapid transit capacity to the Northwest Corridor, saving time and improving safety. GTP proposes to add new, congestion-priced "express toll lanes" along I-75 and I-575, from I-285 to Hickory Grove and Sixes roads.
The express toll lanes will offer motorists a new choice: a reliable and congestion-free drive. Barriers will separate drivers from accidents and tie-ups in the existing lanes, which will remain free. Tolls will be collected electronically at highway speeds, eliminating the need for tollbooths. Using proven "congestion pricing" methods, toll rates will vary depending on time of day, direction of travel and level of congestion, with prices set to maintain free-flow traffic in the new toll lanes.
GTP’s proposal also includes a bus rapid transit system operating in the new express toll lanes, offering a transit alternative for those who prefer to park and ride. In addition, the proposal includes an option for additional commercial truck-only toll lanes to further relieve congestion and improve traffic safety. If that option is selected, all through-trucks could be required to use the new lanes.
Under its proposal, GTP will design and build the project, and the tolls will be collected by the state. The project will be financed through a mix of federal funds, toll-backed revenue bonds and state sources. Using Georgia’s public-private initiative approach, GTP proposes to save both time and money over the traditional transportation project development process.